Foundation Sires of Australia: Colonial Bred Stallions 1804 – 1885 Wallace & Valais

The Australian Bloodhorse

Douglas M. Barrie

The Foundation Sires of Australia: Colonial Bred Stallions 1804 – 1885

Featured Image: Wallace & Valais

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Douglas M. Barrie’s The Australian Bloodhorse, first published in 1956, is a detailed and exhaustive study of the origins and history of the Australian Racehorse. The product of years of patient research and diligent study it provides an accurate and fascinating guide to thousands of our pure-bred horses since the beginning of settlement. The book fully encompasses and encapsulates the horse’s role in Australia’s development, overlanding, exploration, bushranging, romance and at war.

By 1840 the ‘Thoroughbred Type’ may be said to have been fixed in Australia. The Arab influence steadily declined while the English thoroughbred was judged to be purer in type. Such was the importation of quality horses from the old world, and so favourable had the warm pastures of Australia proved, that by the 1840s thoroughbreds foaled and raised in Australia from sires and dams on Australian Studs were the equal in size, constitution and performance of their imported brethren.

Thoroughbred Sire Lines

All racehorses in the Western World, including Australia trace their sire lines to the three great English foundation sires: Eclipse, Herod and Matchem.

Eclipse: Direct descendent of the Darley Arabian

Herod: From the line of the Byerley Turk

Matchem: Foaled in 1749. Matchem was the earliest of the three English Thoroughbred Foundation Sires and was a grandson of the Godolphin Arabian

Most of the imported stallions prior to 1820 were Arabs, the few exceptions being Young Rockingham, Northumberland, Washington, Wellington (a grandson of Rockingham, by Highflyer, by Herod), and The Governor. The Napoleonic Wars and the difficulties in sea transport limited supply chain. As the country opened up from 1813 the horse assumed much more importance in the emerging and rapidly expanding development of the nation.