APRIL 2015: Corryong, NSW - The Man from Snowy River

There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around
That the colt from old Regret had got away
And had joined the wild bush horses - he was worth a thousand pound,
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.

This trip saw us head south to Corryong near the Victorian, NSW border to experience the Man from Snowy River Festival. It was three days of horse riding, country music, poetry, cattle dogs, bush hats, tractors and everything else country. The below story was covered in the July 2015 Issue of 4WD touring Australia.

The wild stallions eyes bulge, desperately seeking an escape route from the chute.   The gate opens.  Dust flies as the heaving mass lurches one way then pitches the next trying to remove the whip-cracking cowboy from its back. 8 seconds does not seem long but it only takes a split second for the cowboy to be tossed into the air and come crashing to earth.

This is the scene from a great weekend away at Corryong, a small country town in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains halfway between Albury and Cooma.

Most Australian can recite the famous lines “There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around that the colt from old Regret had got away”. But not many know the story about Jack Riley who was the head stockman at Tom Groggin Station, a pastoral run of 8000 ha on the upper Murray.  He is said to have recounted the story of his pursuit of the colt that escaped which “Banjo” Paterson later penned the now famous poem “The Man from Snowy River”.

What started out as a poem, and then later a classic Australian movie, has now become an annual challenge between stockmen who compete to be crowned the best horseman of the snowies. This involves six demanding horse events that test the best of both horse and man. It culminates in the top 10 riders competing in the ‘Paterson’s Brumby Catch’ and ‘Kosciusko Stocksaddle Buckjump!’ to determine the winner.

he Man from Snowy River Festival is three days of horse and rodeo riding, poetry, art, utes and general high country life. Nights are filled with country music as a sea of Akubra’s and RM William boots dance in the dust. One of the most popular events is the re-enactment of the poem and a celebration of the life of Jack Riley with the echo’s of horses hooves filling the mountain valley.

We have stayed in some amazing camp sites over the years but this is definitely the first time I have camped on a golf course on the 13th fairway.  The township opens its doors to visitors, which includes allowing the thousands of campers who descend on the town to set up on the adjacent course. If you wish to stay further afield there are numerous great campsites that are dotted along the striking Murray River.

The Country music keeps every one going through the night.

For those that want to explore further afield, Corryong is also a great starting point to explore either the Snowy Mountains or Burrowa-Pine Mountain National Park located near by.  The Park is known for its impressive Bluff Waterfalls which cascade in to the valley as well as Pine Mountain which is one large rock said to be one and a half times as big as Uluru.  It also has a network of 4WD tracks through the park.  Alternatively, take a rod and try your luck catching one of the brown trout or elusive Murray Cod that call this part of the world home.

Many of us have Craig’s Hut, built as a set for The Man From Snowy River film, on their list of must do weekend escapes.  However if you really want a true high country experience make some time to go to the Man from Snowy River Festival at Corryong to marvel at the skills of these stockman who’s lives are so intertwined with the land. And while you are there you could even try your luck at ridding a bucking horse.

The scenery in the surrounding countryside is also magic

It was a great escape from the big smoke.