Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


Riding for Riley

The man from Snowy River is a household word today, And the stockmen tell the story of his ride

Story: Margrit Beemster
Photos: Michael griffin

ImageThe horses and riders wait patiently in the drizzling rain.

A haunting melody echoes in the mountain air. The crowd gathered at Jack Riley's grave at Corryong cemetery to honour the legendary stockman, including participants in the challenging three-day Riley's Ride, fall silent.

As the strains of the Flight of the Eaglehawk by local composer Graeme Jephcott resounds, it seems the spirit of the man who inspired Banjo Paterson's The Man from Snowy River has returned.

He sent the flint stones flying, but the pony kept his feet,

He cleared the fallen timber in his stride,

And the man from Snowy River never shifted in his seat -

It was grand to see that mountain horseman ride.

It's an emotional moment, a fitting finale for participants in the 12th Riley's Ride, an annual pilgrimage that retraces Jack Riley's last journey from Tom Groggin Station along Harrington's Track to Corryong in Victoria's scenic Upper Murray.

The ride traverses spectacular country with views of Mt Kosciuszko, Mt Townsend, The Abbots and Mt Alice Rawson, passes through magnificent forests, circumnavigates deep river gorges and takes in the picturesque Biggara and Thougla Valleys.

But, as rider and bush poet Bob Skelton, 61, from Minmi in NSW's Hunter Valley says, "Riley's Ride is not just a trail ride. It's part of our heritage, our culture." Story end

Full story: Issue 11 June - July, 2000

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