Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Australia's Wild Cattle at Cowpastures

A few short months after the First Fleet landed their great clod-hoppers on Aussie soil 4 cows and 2 bulls did a bunk from the convicts who were supposed to be watching them.
Governor Phillip was a tad miffed but wrote them off as he believed they would probably have been eaten by aborigines or escaped convicts.

Fast forward to 1795 when a group of explorers were strolling through the area now known as Camden and weren't they surprised to eyeball a herd of 61 cattle!
Governor Hunter trotted up to see this herd of wild cattle for himself and soon identified them as offspring from the lost cows and bulls.
But he was a happy camper.

Breeding stock in the new colony had been painfully slow and they'd had to import most of their meat. Getting anywhere near that herd of wild cattle to tame them would be almost impossible and to slaughter them would be wasteful and leave them in the same pickle, forced to import meat, that they were already in.

So Governor Hunter used his God-blessed grey matter and chose to leave the cattle right where they were; he marked the area out of bounds, named it Cowpastures and sensibly left them to keep on multiplying, as they'd managed it successfully without any human help, to become a future resource.

By the time Governor Hunter upped sticks and left the colony 5 years later the herd had increased to 300 and within 10 years it numbered over 5,000.


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