Broken Creek Drive   September 2016

 The Victorian Working Draught Horse Association 2016 Broken Creek Drive was once again a successful event. This year the club decided to set up a base camp where members and their horses would depart on day trips to various destinations along the Broken Creek. Weather conditions, for the most part, were mainly good, however we did encounter a wee bit of rain, wind, fog and floods.

Day 1:   Monday – The first day Fred, Sarah and Bevan went on a small 5-6 km drive up the road and back. Fred and Sarah’s horse Becky arrived with a small leg injury and Bevan’s horse Major was to get settled into the break cart and new surroundings, therefore a small drive was ideal. Matt, Maddi and Daphne arrived that day. Apparently an eventful journey from Melbourne to base camp for Matt and Maddi as they had transport dramas including blown tyres and seized breaks.

Day 2:   Tuesday – With the arrival of Matt, Maddi and Daphne, a 10km drive was planned to the Narioka Recreational Reserve. A beautiful sunny day with a light breeze made the drive very relaxing. The horses, well most of them, were also enjoying the day out. Bevan’s horse Major was enjoying the outing so much that he broke into a wee gallop. This was a gentle reminder that when on a drive things happen and that we must be mindful that a horse can and will do the unexpected.

Day 3:   Wednesday – With the arrival of more club members also brought the arrival of Bad Creswick Weather. A rest day was in order to sit it out. Lyle, Graeme and Ted sat around the Aus Pig while Fred and Bevan set up a wind break and cooked a magnificent roast pork and chicken for everyone. A few sherbets and chateau de cardboard enlightened our spirits around the camp fire, accompanied with Ted’s poems. Matt managed to get the fishing line in the water that day and hauled in a number of carp and Murray cod. At one stage Matt was observed in his undies netting a fish… “it was not to get away this time” he said. The cod were kissed and released, while the carp were of course put next to Bevan’s tent for observation.

Day 4:   Thursday – Hooray, sunshine. “Let’s get harnessed up cobba”. A drive to Bill Chandler’s place was planned. John and Jake decided to ride their horses in saddle that day. A ladder had to be organised for John to mount his horse. (I am glad that I am not the only one who requires a ladder). The journey of around 20km explored the north west parts of the Broken Creek, crossing bridges and main roads. Lunch was at a lovely spot on the Broken Creek next to Bills place. The hour or so we stopped for lunch was appreciated by John. Unfortunately Bill was unavailable that day to show us around his property, oh well, maybe next time. When arriving back at base camp Graeme and Lyle had the fire going and “yippee”, other camp roast. More sherbets, chateau de cardboard, poems and a camp oven desert prepared by Daphne were enjoyed that night around the fire…a great way to finish a great day.

Day 5:   Friday – We woke to find a beautiful morning of clear skies and little wind. Daphne unfortunately departed that morning for another event. I’m sure Daphne enjoyed driving Matt’s team of horses and our company around the camp fire.  A gentle drive in the south east side of the Broken Creek was planned, approximately 20km. The Broken Creek had risen more, bringing water over the dirt road. All horses clomped through the flooded water without hesitation. For me this was a highlight as I was sure Major would be a sook and not want to get his toes wet. Lunch seemed to bring out the mozzies, therefore it was a quick bite. Maddi unfortunately had to leave us that afternoon, yet I am sure she really enjoyed the time spent with us on the drive. That night, with arrival of Stuart and Sam, we were picked up by a shuttle bus and taken to the Picola Pub for dinner. The meals were so big that not everyone managed to clean up their plates. The Friday night pub raffle was drawn after dinner. Stuart and Bevan each won a meat tray, a bonus for the next day’s lunch.

Day 6:   Saturday – With the once again blue skies and little wind, a 20km drive to Gowers Gate (the entrance into Barmah Forest) was planned. This drive was directly north of base camp, crossing the Picola/Barmah Road. Stuart, Sam and Jake were riding in saddle, while Fred, Sarah, Bevan, Matt, Jane and John were driving in harness. Ted and Lyle prepared a very delightful bbq lunch at the entrance to Barmah Forest (Gowers Gate) that mainly consisted of meat, bread and fruit. This was a beautiful spot to rest up. Jake had us all believing there were brumbies nearby, while Matt was fascinated with the old style fence posts and rails. The journey back to base camp encountered cows running on both sides of the road. This created a couple of minor reminders that a horse can be unpredictable and very powerful creatures. Yet all was controlled well by all drivers and riders and onward we travelled. Fred and Sarah unfortunately departed base camp that afternoon – “off to see a man about a horse” they said. It was sad to see them go as both Fred and Sarah really made the drive an enjoyable one.

Day 7:   Sunday – Today was a sad day for many of us as we had to leave to go home. If only we could stay longer. Sam, Stuart, Bevan, John and Jake all had to leave that morning, while Ted, Lyle, Matt and Jane stayed on. James arrived for a few nights as we were leaving that morning. I’m sure James wished he was able to bring his team of horses however James was on his way to a Ute Muster and had to sit this one out.

Day 8:   Monday – Matt and Jane decided to venture into the south east side of the Broken Creek again. This time the river had risen even higher than before. Previously the plod through the swollen river was six inches deep for approximately 150 meters. Now the river was another six inches higher and the plod through the water was many times the distance. It was fantastic that video footage was recorded as this was an amazing event to do on a drive.

Day 9: Tuesday – Rain came in that day, therefore a rest day was declared. Lyle, Ted and James enjoyed cuppas boiled on the Aus Pig while Matt fished for more Murray cod and carp in his undies. James girlfriend Meg arrived to join James, this I am sure made James very happy.

Day 10: Wednesday – The last day of the drive. Matt and Jane drove to Bills Chandlers place. The Broken Creek was very swollen now, how much more rain can the Broken Creek handle.


In Summary – The 2016 Broken Creek base camp drive was I’m sure considered by all as being another great success. Excellent company makes this club drive what it is… very enjoyable and relaxing. Personally, I will be there again next year. It is an event not to be missed.

There were no major incidents to speak of other than the expected.

Many VWDHA thanks to:

  • All participants for participating in this club event.
  • Ted and Lyle for organizing the base camp location and setup.
  • All participants for participating in a professional manner by abiding by the club rules and regulations.
  • All participants for ensuring their horses were in excellent condition.
  • All participants for ensuring that their harness, wagons and carts were in a safe and well maintained operating condition.
  • Safety Officers Ted and Lyle for their efforts in ensuring that each day’s drive was well planned, co-ordinated, supervised and professionally documented.
  • Those who provided video and photos for the newsletter, Facebook page and website.