From 13th -15th January the ranges around Buchan will ring to the crack of stock whips and the yell of horsemen and women, as the cracks gather to the fray for the Mountain Cattlemen’s Annual Gathering at Buchan.
Buchan, 75 kilometres north of Bairnsdale in East Gippsland, is an historical township made famous by the Buchan Limestone Caves. The caves are truly an underground wonderland. Of course, Buchan has much more to offer, with superb fishing to be enjoyed in the Buchan River, rafting and canoeing opportunities and numerous sight-seeing possibilities within a relatively short driving range of the town. There is history galore in and around Buchan; settlement began when Buchan Station was founded in 1840. How many know, that at Buchan South is the site of a black marble outcrop which was used in the construction of 16 huge pillars for Melbourne’s magnificent Shrine of Remembrance.
Normally, visitors can be kept occupied for weeks taking in the breathtaking scenery and historical delights of this gateway to the High Country, but for this one weekend in January 2017, all focus and attention will be on the history and heritage of the Mountain Cattlemen. The entire nation knows them; after all, they were immortalised by Henry Lawson in his famous poem, The Man From Snowy River. You don’t have to travel far out of town to the junction of the Buchan and Snowy Rivers – Buchan is firmly part of the Mountain Cattlemen’s domain.
Visitors and competitors will be able to enjoy the spectacle of whip cracking competitions for seniors and juniors, along with a plethora of events such as the Cattlemen’s Cup Challenge, the cattle cut out and even the Great Australian Packhorse Race. And who would want to miss the Mulga Bill Bike Race? The big question is, surely, will anyone from Eaglehawk enter? If you read Banjo Patterson’s poem Mulga Bills Bike, you’ll be asking the question too, for Mulga Bill from Eaglehawk arguably showed as much grit as any Mountain Cattleman?
If you are after something a little less dashing, then there will be typically-Australian novelty events like the sack-race, the 3-legged race and even a lolly scramble that the kids will enjoy. Anyone can enter – mountain cattlemen don’t have a mortgage on such things. And one event that is everyone’s favourite – the dog high jump. The companion of man can be breathtakingly athletic.
And to prove even the rugged men and woman of the mountains have a sublime side, there are photography and poetry competitions. The bush-poetry recitals are uniquely Australian and dare we say it, quite brilliant. There is far more to the mystique of these doyens of mountain ranges than riding at breathtaking speed down mountain gullies, whips a crackin’.
What better way to create lasting memories over the Christmas-New Year period than to pack the family up to the mountains to breathe the mountain air and to witness and soak up a part of Australia’s iconic history. This event is only held in Gippsland every four years, so don’t miss the opportunity.
And Buchan has a brand-new pub too!