The Brumby Wars: The Battle for the Soul of Australia

Anthony Sharwood

The Brumby Wars: The Battle for the Soul of Australia
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The Brumby Wars: The Battle for the Soul of Australia

Anthony Sharwood

It’s not just a war over horses. It’s a battle for the soul of Australia.


This is a book about the intense culture war raging around Australia’s wild horses, known as brumbies. It pits a vision of the legendary Man from Snowy River and the iconic ANZAC Light Horse against the spectre of ecosystems destroyed by feral pests. The debate involves powerful politicians and media commentators, and stars an animal mythologised in Australian poetry and prose. But in essence, this is about us. The Brumby Wars is about Australians at war with each other over their vision of an ideal Australia.

To ecologists and people who ski, walk and fish in the High Country and other areas where the brumbies proliferate, they are a feral menace which must be removed to save delicate alpine landscapes. To the descendants of cattle families and many Australians in urban and regional areas, brumbies are untouchable, a symbol of wildness and freedom.

Something has to give. But what? The land or the horses? This war is set to escalate dramatically before we have an answer. Featuring interviews with characters from all sides of the debate, The Brumby Wars is the riveting account of a major national issue and the very human passions it inspires. It is also a journey, a quest to understand what makes us tick in our increasingly polarised country.

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