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Monday, July 1, 2013


In my last post I refered to "the Long Paddock" and I'm not sure that my non-Aussie readers will understand what that is so I thought I would try to give you an explanation.

The Long Paddock is the colloquial term for the stock routes that cross Australia – open strecthes of unfenced land that anyone can use to move stock.

In Australia, the Travelling Stock Route  is an authorised thoroughfare for the walking of domestic livestock such as sheep or cattle from one location to another. These Stock Routes are known collectively as "The Long Paddock".

A Travelling Stock Route may look just like an ordinary country road. The difference is that the grassy verges on either side of the road are very much wider. 
The property fences are set back much further from the roadside than usual. The reason for this is so that the livestock may feed on the vegetation that grows on the verges as they travel.
Bores, equipped with windmills and troughs, may also be located at regular intervals to provide water in regions where there are no other reliable water sources.

By law, the travelling stock must travel "six miles a day" (approximately 10 kilometres per day). This is to avoid all the roadside grass from being cleared in a particular area by an individual mob. 

The traveling stock are diven by stockmen on horseback, quad bikes or motorbikes assisted as always by their trusty working dogs, often Cattle Dogs, Border Collies or Kelpies or a mixture of these breeds specially bred for working with stock.
There is usually a support vehicle traveling with the herd - sometimes a caravan or a four wheel drive vehicle with cooking and bedding supplies.
Sometimes the drover's family is also there to assist him with children and wives taking their turn to keep the mob under control and out of danger.

 A Travelling Stock Reserve is a fenced paddock set aside at strategic distances to allow overnight watering and camping of stock where the stock can be contained safely so the drovers can get a bit of sleep confident that their herd will not stray into danger during the night .

The purpose of "droving" livestock on such a journey might have once been to move the stock to different pastures or to market, but these days this is usually done by trucking them from one place to the next.

These days, in times of extreme drought, when paddocks lack feed and/or water, stockowners are forced to reduce their livestock numbers radically and take the remaining beasts to travel their six miles a day, along the stock routes, surviving on the roadside grass till the rains come and once again their paddocks have grass enough to support the herd.
At the moment the situation in many outback areas is dire and livestock herds are once again to be seen traveling the long paddock.

* all photos today from the Internet


  1. That was fascinating. We used to have drovers' roads here, used mainly for taking animals to big markets a long way away. I'm not aware of anyone using them for droving now. In fact, some local person here tried using an old drovers' route, which is now a trunk road, for droving his cattle for a TV programme, with disastrous consequences. Nowadays if they are still in evidence they are used for long distance walking and riding, and good thing too.

  2. Thank you. Very interesting. Our cattle only have to go a few hundred yards here to get to new pasture.

  3. oh that's so interesting, thankyou for explaining it all!
    When I was little I used to tell everyone I was going to marry a cowboy LOL

  4. Fascinating Helen. I cannot begin to imagine what cattle farming must be like over there - it all sounds like a giant version of our drovers roads which as Foody says are no longer used for transporting animals and ard are now quiet lanes mostly used for walking these days. I wonder what would happen when there was an outbreak of foot and moth if our animals were moved like yours? It's always interesting to learn about other ways of doing things and one of the joys of blogging is this sort of information as we find out how we are different and how we are the same.

  5. Proof read Jane! Not foot and moth at all but foot and mouth and a "d" instead of an "e" in the word are - you'd never believe I used to be good at typing!!

  6. Very interesting read, Helsie, and truly educational for me. Thank you!

  7. See - you can take the teacher out of the classroom but you can't stop her teaching! Is there any homework Miss? Ow! Why'd you clip my ear Miss?

  8. This is all news to me but it got me singing "Rawhide." You know, "head 'em up, move 'em out, raaawhiiide!

    In case you have never heard of it...about a 100 years ago it was a TV Western about a cattle drive. I believe it was where Clint Eastwood got his start. He was young then so I'm exaggerating only a little.

    This was all informative and entertaining. Nice photos too!

  9. Australia is vast with large properties that can be as big or bigger than England. Weather can put some properties in drought with the next door neighbour having plenty of feed as the rains have blessed their properties. It is the vastness of this country that can create desert to lush rainforest.