Loves Creek Station
Loves Creek Station, NT is one of the earliest pastoral leases in Central Australia, and once covered nearly 4000 sq km. It is now traditionally owned land.
Ross River Homestead 83km north-east of Alice Springs is now a tourist resort formed around the original Loves Creek Homestead built in the 1890s, possibly by Alfred Tabe, the foreman at the nearby Arltunga Gold town. In 1901 the new owner Albert Wallis established gardens to supply fresh vegetables to the miners, and in 1908 the leasehold was sold to Lewis Bloomfield, a name synonymous with Ross River and the reputation for producing great horses. He and his sons were expert horsemen, and in addition to running cattle, they bred horses for the Indian Remount trade, as well as a lot of racing Thoroughbreds.
The MacDonnell Ranges were considered as premium horse-breeding country as the stony and sandy terrain helped to develop well-formed feet and hardy horses, renowned for their endurance. It’s necessary to see what was nearby as horses both wandered to neighbouring properties and were bought, sold, exchanged, gifted around the area. Neighbouring stations are The Garden, and Undoolya, which was first taken up by Edward (Ned) Meade Bagot in 1872.
Ned imported Suffolk Punch stallions into SA, he was an authority on the breed as well as keen racing man who bred and raced top stayers. By 1860 when rail was available to move stock he had established saleyards in Kapunda, through which thousands of cattle and horses went. It was said that the horses bred by Ned’s sons while in central Australia were some of the best ever sent to Adelaide to the sales.
Horses were used to take cattle and at times mobs of horses, through to Oodnadatta to be railed south. Other times stock was taken along stock routes to Queensland or the Kimberley; stock horses from Central Australia were tough. Good bloodlines of stayers and clean legged draughts, agile pony blood, and subsequent adaption to the country over time being some of the earliest there, created a hardy, intelligent animal.