The Man From Snowy River was Aboriginal: Anthony Sharwood

8 September 2021

In his new book, The Brumby Wars, Australian journalist and radio and TV presenter Anthony Sharwood contends there is “overwhelming evidence” the subject of Banjo Patterson’s 1890 poem The Man from Snowy River, was Aboriginal.

Patterson’s iconic verse recounts the story of a lone rancher who succeeds in capturing a racehorse who had absconded with a herd of brumbies, or wild horses. Sharwood says only indigenous ranchers worked in the area where the poem is set.

He has studied the topography of the poem: “the pine-covered ridges,” the flint stones, the “ragged and craggy battlements” of Kosciuszko, and says they all point to the location of the poem around Byadbo in the New South. The Welsh side, not the Victorian. Byadbo is the only part of the mountains with “anything remotely resembling pine-covered ridges,” he writes, and the only place with flint rocks and jagged peaks, rather than smooth ones. If the trip happened there, it is an area where all the ranchers were indigenous, he says.

Sharwood believes Patterson presented the rancher as being of European descent to appease the literary tastes of the late nineteenth century.

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