The Australian Bloodhorse

The Australian Bloodhorse

Douglas M. Barrie

Featured Image: Front jacket cover of Douglas M. Barrie’s The Australian Bloodhorse

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.

W J McFadden (Keeper of the Australian Stud Book), A W Dexter (Secretary, Bloodhorse Breeders Association of Australia) and John Schofield (Sydney “Sunday Telegraph”) all provided erudite critiques and lavish praise for the publication. It is an outstanding sequel to ‘Racehorses in Australia’, with paintings by Martin Stainforth, edited by Dr W H Lang, Ken Austin and Dr Stewart McKay, published by Art in Australia in 1922. ‘Horsemen of the First Frontier (1788 – 1900) and The Serpent’s Legacy’ by Keith R Binney, published in 2003 is the third dimension of an exquisite trifecta.

I’m fortunate to hold original copies of all three. The first two are extremely rare. Much of the content is no longer accessible to the public at large. Selected reproductions, mainly photographic, might appeal to some.

“The Australian bloodhorse ranks high among the thoroughbreds of the world. His history dates to the first decade of *civilization* in Australia. He and his progeny played a leading part in the exploration and development of a vast new continent. Their performance in war in India, Africa, and later the Holy Land is an epic of endurance and courage never equalled in military history. The records of the colonial horse on the courses of his own country show his excellence as a racehorse. Despite handicaps of acclimatization, he has gone abroad to win important contests in the older countries of the Northern Hemisphere, and to set world records. He ahs contributed to the best breeding strains available in the world today. He is truly thoroughbred.” (Douglas M Barrie 1956)

*‘Civilization’* = Mr Barry’s view that ‘civilization’ began with white settlement was redolent of both his generation and genre. He continually refers to the male gender when appraising the ‘horse’.