Wednesday, August 10, 2011


A big deal in the 1930's for entertainment deprived Canberra was the idea of a Canberra Rodeo with the added entertainment of 'wild brumbies' as the mounts. The western ranges of the ACT was believed to support an estimated 200 wild horses, Brumbies, that had bred-up from the lost stock of settlers over the previous 100 years.

This first article relates the announcement by the Kangaroo Club of Canberra...

The Canberra Times - Wednesday 13 January 1932

National Library of Australia

Interest grew and it should be noted that Canberra was 19 years old and Canberra's entertainment venues were limited to the Albert, Causeway and Westlake Halls.

The Canberra Times - Friday 15 January 1932

National Library of Australia

Within days of the public announcement of the idea it was announced that Mr. Bert Reid of Tidbinbilla had corralled a mob of 30 horses for selection and apparently they were the stock of 'Blood Horses', Thoroughbreds lost in the 1830's...

The Canberra Times - Tuesday 19 January 1932

National Library of Australia

In typical fashion for the era anything coming from the newly formed Capital of Australia was newsworthy now with hints of justification for the exercise claiming polluting of the Cotter River water catchment...

Western Argus - Tuesday 26 January 1932

National Library of Australia

Seeing the event was gaining so much momentum the businessman of Canberra offered their support...

The Canberra Times - Monday 18 January 1932

National Library of Australia

A week after the first announcement preparations at the Acton Racecourse (today under the waters of Lake Burley Griffin) were well under-way and the announcement of the 'Bushman's Ball' to be held at the Albert Hall. Two events for a Canberra comprised mostly by foundation stones, very exciting...

The Canberra Times - Tuesday 26 January 1932

National Library of Australia

And another a few days later...

The Canberra Times - Saturday 30 January 1932

National Library of Australia

And the day arrived but I'm now wondering why Australia Day was celebrated on the 1st of February...

The Canberra Times - Monday 1 February 1932

National Library of Australia

And the results two weeks start to finish with more than 1500 attending the gate with takings of 100 pound...

The Canberra Times - Tuesday 2nd February 1932

National Library of Australia

I can find no other mention on Trove of the event occurring again...

It did however sound like it was an exciting time for Canberra. Apart from I thought the event was interesting the whole concept of 'Bushman's Ball as an annual event could perhaps be re-instigated . It's an old idea but one that could be used today as an annual fund raising event for a local charity. Hold it at the Albert Hall, which today apparently struggles, and promote it as an historical event reborn.


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