Moroka Jun 2010
It was 1978 and Kath and I were a young couple, living in Gippsland. Kath had introduced me to horses and we would saddle up most weekends and ride off into the Tonimbuk bush looking for new tracks and ridges to explore, new challenges for us and our horses. Looking back perhaps I pushed the adventure a bit far, often getting back to our farm house in the dark after misjudging the miles to the next ridge or getting the horses bogged in some tea-tree swamp looking for a shortcut. But the distant blue ridges on the horizon started to look closer and I wondered about getting a bit further afield.
My sister Tracey had been for a ride into the Gippsland High Country with the Hodge family at Valencia Creek, so Kath and I, along with old mate Jed decided to give it a crack. The next January we were up at Clive and Marion’s homestead, saddling up our grey horses for the ride up onto Mt Wellington, down Riggalls Spur into Lake Tali Karng with camps at Millar’s Hut and the beautiful setting of Moroka Hut. We were enchanted by the mountains and our life’s journey was set.
We joined Clive for some truly memorable rides of discovery of what the High Country offered adventurous horseriders, from Wulgulmerang and Black Mountain to The Cobberas, Cowombat Flat and Thredbo, from Dargo to the Blue Rag and on to the Wonnangatta, and a ride we did ourselves from Tonimbuk to Baw Baw and on to Mount Wellington to Moroka. My introduction to packhorses came when I joined Clive on a re-enactment of the “gold train” that packed gold from the old bank vault at Wallhalla to Rosedale as part of Victoria’s sesquicentennial celebrations. After a few beers at Briagalong we had to catch up with a long night trotting along in the dark on the quartz back roads with sparks flying off the horses shoes and a lively banter with Clive and his mates Tiger Ripper and Archie Timms.
And so in time Kath and I settled in the North East High Country, just a few blue ridges from Gippsland and after 25 years of adventures with horses in the mountains we are proud to continue the traditions of generations of the High Country horse and the people who ride them. Looking out into the paddock now I see a young horse testing his agility, his strength and movement that is the gift of all horses. He was foaled in the spring of 2009, he was named Moroka, to honor those traditions and Clive Hodge who died late last year.
We will never forget Clive and Marion’s country hospitality, and recognise those adventures were instrumental in developing our passion for horses, pride in our heritage, and have contributed to our love for the high country.
The spirit and traditional values of past generations continue to inspire our family today.