Old school drovers

Old school drovers

In years gone by, as many as 10,000 head of cattle would call the Temma run home for agistment throughout the winter months. Now, only two men are authorised to carry out the traditional practice.

Once, Perry King and his family would drove as many as 200 head of cattle from Redpa to Arthur River on horseback, before moving them on through to Temma the following day to calve.

In 2002 the Arthur Pieman Conservation Area Management Plan ruled that only those with a history of running cattle on the Temma run were allowed to continue the practice, and with almost 20 years having passed, only Perry and cousin Steven ‘Scissors’ Nicholls remain.

“We’re lucky to still be able to do it,” Perry said.

Fortunately, modern innovations make the move much easier, with Perry opting to move his cattle via bike and truck as opposed to on horseback.

“You could have the job done by dinner when it used to take us a couple of days,” he said.

“That being said it’s a very unique experience to drove your cattle on a beach on horseback.”

Perry says that if the legislation were to change and he had to stop moving his cattle to the Temma run for agistment, he would have to reduce his stock numbers.

“It’s become a part of our farm management,” he said.

“We’d have to run less stock if we couldn’t do it anymore.”

Horseback droving for agistment has been going on in Temma for years. Pictured: Bill Payne, Ben Fenton and Bryan Saward. Photo courtesy of Jocelyn Flint.