Let’s celebrate history in the making! Timor Ponies at the 2024 Summer Royal Show held at the Werribee Park National Equestrian Centre.
Topsy was a famous performing pony – a Timor-Shetland cross, once a very popular cross. She stood 10.3 hands high. Performing through the 1940’s and ’50’s, Topsy was bred by Tom Dennis at Huntington stud, Dunbible, on the Tweed River northern NSW.
A Timor Pony population was established at Wanneroo from the 1830’s and continued into the 20th century. Apparently, a Wanneroo Pony was the bees-knees for Perth children once.
We believe we have the world’s last remaining wild Timor Ponies (other than those in Timor), and only a handful in captivity. Find out how to help us save this breed.
The Timor is by far the most influential pony in the Waler’s make-up. The Timor Pony is a very pure breed. Today we know of three or four stallions, two each mares/ geldings and one colt in domestic hands.
The Timor has remained pure, one of the most ancient breeds and more pure breeds in the world. Geographical isolation has helped a lot with this. Our wild population is hence of great significance.
Genghis Khan’s armies left ponies in South East Asia (there is an island off Korea where the language is the same as Genghis Khans). It is thought ponies traded, and also from wrecks, of Chinese ships added greatly to the S.E. Asian pony population. The Asian islands over the centuries, all developed their own types from these ponies, all similar.
The Timor Pony has been in Australia since 1803 when a single stallion was imported, then arriving en-masse in 1824. Many were shipped into the Australian colonies for working duties because of their hardiness, versatility and stamina, and most horses bred in Australia in those days had Timor in them. They continue to exist on Timor Island, but their future is not certain on the Australian mainland.
The world’s only wild population is a small herd of pure Timors that have been running on the Cobourg Peninsula in the Northern Territory since the early nineteenth century, although they have been targeted for eradication by the government at various stages, they are now under the protection of the Traditional Owners of the area. The few in domestic hands now were captured in this area (west of Murganella, with the help of a Traditional Owners and permission from National Parks) in November 2003.
We know 11 horses were DNA tested at Texas Austin University, but as yet don’t have them all named and placed for our record. There are two Timor ponies in captivity as exhibits in Crocodylus Park, Darwin NT, a mare and her gelded son.
Timors were released on Horse Peninsula (now called Coffin Bay) on the South Australian coast, early in the nineteenth century and being there so long have become their own type and breed.
Another distinct pony type, long established, of Timor extract was the Finniss River Pony in the Northern Territory now shot out by the government.
We are a small group of advocates for the Timor Pony, you can find us on Facebook. Please join us on this important mission by staying updated and sending in any stories, information or photographs you may have. The Timor Pony urgently needs our help.
Tracing Timor Pony history in Australia is a fascinating exercise, reading through old newspaper articles paints a real picture of how plentiful and well regarded these ponies were.