Squatters & Settlers

Brookong Wool Bales
Brookong Station Shearers Riot
Kings Kelpie

"From the last point to the westward the eye wandered over woodland alone, if I except a solitary hill that bore by compass S53W at about 12 miles distance, and a remarkable mountain Kengal) bearing S32W.”

With these words, Charles Sturt, who was tracing the course of the Murrumbidgee, recorded the first European sighting of The Rock and Galore Hill that dominate the landscape in Lockhart Shire.

Sturt’s report of vast plains beyond the Murrumbidgee River frontage changed the course of the region forever. Squatters began to occupy large tracks of land and by the 1830’s, the era of pastoralists and their great stations had begun.

Brookong, Grubben, Mittagong and Urangeline Stations once controlled major areas of the Lockhart district. Brookong Station, with more than 480,000 acres, was the scene of the famous shearers strike in 1888,which paved the way for the trade union movement.

Of the massive shearing sheds which once dominated these station, only the Urangeline woolshed stands today in it's entirety as a reminder of the grand old days of large stations and Australian reliance on the wool industry.

Following the Robertson Land Acts of the 1860s, closer settlement changed the social life on the plains. Small settlements sprang up with inns to cater for travellers and bullock teamsters. Many of these settlements can still be visited as you travel through our historic Shire.

The Kelpie breed has a strong connection with the great pastoral stations of Lockhart Shire, with the actual working breed name Kelpie originating from Kings Kelpie, owned by John King from Hanging Rock Station (now The Rock).

King’s Kelpie, produced from one of the first litters of imported dogs, was entered in the first Forbes Sheepdog Trial in approximately 1872. After ‘King’s Kelpie’ stand out performance at the Trials, her pups were in great demand and everyone wanted one of ‘Kelpie’s pups’, and so the name evolved.