Goats in Queensland history
"Goats played a notable part in the settlement of the Western Plains. Ask any of the old timers. They were there." (William Clark).
Goats were a vital part of early Queensland settlement. They provided the fresh milk and meat that ensured survival in the harsh interior. They hauled everything from firewood and water to meat pies and sewing machines. There were the basis of of commercial enterprises from cashmere production to taxis servicing country railway stations. They were used for recreation in ways that ranged from sedate rides in miniature sulkies to high jumping or risking your neck at goat polo.
Goat races were a feature of all sorts of occasions from serious gambling affairs, to school break-up days, to the Ekka. Goats featured regularly in the Queenslander and the North Queensland Register from 1900 to 1940. Some were celebrities, such as Koongal the great Rockhampton racing goat.
They were the subject of anecdotes of all kinds, many about goats eating what they shouldn't - the washing off the line, the seats in the car, the horse's tail and the bank manager's coat pocket with his petrol ration tickets in it. They featured in poems, songs and stories. Mention goats to Queenslanders and you release a flood of memories.
The proposal for a museum on the history of goats and their owners in Australia follows on from a book, The indispensable goat, by Faye Schutt and Errol Beutel, published by Central Queensland University Press in 2002, and based on information and photographs from hundreds of Queenslanders on the role of goats and their milk, meat, skins and transport in making life possible in Queensland's outback right up to the 1950s.
The project was announced by the Australian Workers' Heritage Centre in July 2009.
Roy Dunn's famous leap on Nugget, 1905. The photo was widely reproduced on postcards, and finally on Roy's gravestone.
Lining up for the start of the Barcoo Cup
Stepping out like a team of horses. Hauling hay.
Off to war.