Stampede

The Journal of the Brockman Droving Expedition 1874-75, edited by Nan Broad with Peter Bridge, is the second volume in the Western Australian Exploration series. The following is extracted from page 7 of the volume:

By 9 o’clock we all turned in around the campfire and soon fell asleep to the music of the ring of about a dozen horse bells as the poor animals were luxuriating on the rich green grass after their hard and trying journey from Geraldton.

At midnight we were all awakened by a great stampede of the horses accompanied by a great ringing of bells as they came galloping towards the campfire. When within about a hundred yards of the camp they halted, and turning their heads in the direction from which they had come, and kept up a chorus of snorting for some minutes. I was puzzled to think what could have alarmed them, but I have always noticed that all animals in a strange country – especially horses – are very nervous and easily alarmed. Cattle at times will become panic-stricken and will rush off in a wild mob trampling down everything before them. Our horses upon this occasion may have caught the scent of some belated native wanderers, but whatever was the cause of the alarm it was not repeated, and they gradually started to feed again until the morning.

By daybreak we were all astir and while some went for the horses others got breakfast and packed up ready for a start.

The Journal of the Brockman Droving Expedition 1874-75 is the story of one of the greatest early stock droves in Australia. In 1874 John Brockman answered the call to assist the Clarkson droving party, stranded on the Murchison River in drought conditions.

Read more on the Western Australian Exploration website. Go here.

Kim Epton
Series Editor