Horse Sales in Queensland

From Waler Data Base @FaceBook. Image: ‘Horse auction at the railway yards in Beaudesert, ca. 1912 .’State Library Qld.

For decades Toowoomba had one of the biggest horse sales in Australia. The big buyers for overseas as well as buyers for Australia attended. Draughts to ponies all sold well. Auctioneers themselves became very wealthy from the horse trade. Many other Qld sales, such as the 3 day sale at Alpha in Brisbane, and at the Exhibition Grounds; and in all major towns.

Neil McPhie & Co. were auctioneers that sold in many Qld towns from Longreach to Toowoomba. Robinson, Doneley’s & other sale operators also sold in Toowoomba.

Weekly horse sales at local bazaars were held all year, but the big annual sales at local township stockyards were a huge drawcard. Other sales were held monthly. It was a giant market.

Sale of horses in Toowoomba QLD
Postcard, c. 1910, Margaret Street, Toowoomba

Remounts and gunners, work horses, polo and carriage horses, race ponies; a good income for a long time for Queensland breeders. Studs such as Maryvale in Queensland were famous for their draughts. Alf Cotton had dozens of Suffolk Punches including stallions. Many Maryvale clydies and Cotton draughts were used to cross to breed Walers. Toward the end of the trade, 1890’s to 1940’s, Queensland commanded our horse trade overseas. They had the most, and often, the best. Few people know that Queensland owes its excellent railway system and good ports to the horse trade. Unlike most states, their government identified the need for infrastructure early, and got stuck into creating it – this paid off many times over.

Images used all from State Library of Qld: Horses in McPhie’s saleyards at Toowoomba, ca. 1936; Horse sales at Charleville, Queensland, ca. 1909.

Before the sales in major cities and towns, each spring, were big stallion parades – so people could choose which stallions to look out for as they travelled about, and enquire about, see which stallions were for sale, and the sire that some of the sale horses were by. Everyone horsey turned out for these exciting parades and sale days.

Parade of stallions for a stud stock sale, Toowoomba, Queensland, 1908. State Library Qld
Parade of stallions for a stud stock sale, Toowoomba, Queensland, 1908
Horse sale at Clark Bros. Yards, Bundaberg. 1907. State Library Qld.
Horse sale at Clark Bros. Yards, Bundaberg. 1907
Private photo of Hughie Byrne breaking in horses at Emerald for horse sales in QLD

“This is my Dad, Hughie Byrne, from Allora Qld. He & a couple of other men broke in horses at Emerald Qld for sale to India. This was after he came back from active service at Milne Bay PNG.
I don’t know what breed they were. Maybe others would have more information.
Dad started racehorses & rode trackwork at Clifford Park Toowoomba into his late 60’s.” Sent to our FB page by Shirley Everingham, February 2024

Posted by Enoch Waler

Waler gelding purpose bred to help educate and advocate for Walers, in person and via Facebook and Instagram.