Monthly Archives: August 2014

Brumbies – Facts You Should Know


Bio-Diversity – Environment – Ecology – Mega Fauna
Noeline Franklin B Sc (Hons) PTC M Med Sc.

Noeline FranklinBeing a scientist and a Snowy Mountain farmer this synopsis of historic and factual findings, together with my personal expertise and experience, I hope will offer you information to comprehend  government are funding junkets engineering false claims.  Brumby damage to our environment being used to genocide this marvelous asset fighting to maintain what’s left of our once pristine heritage Snowy these wild horses nurtured long before National Parks were thought of and their endurance to survive massive destruction of their habitat under blatant myth-management.

The summer in the mountains this year was as dry and windy as it has been for several years raising concerns again of severe bushfire destroying more of the Upper Murray catchments including adjacent farmland. Many of the creeks were dry and isolated pools where underground flows rose over rock shelves. The Brumbies were in good order and had created fire breaks around the bogs keeping them fire safe. Trampled grass tracks in the old days would make excellent fire breaks for back-burns required to stop any bushfire. The active Brumby runs is where the few remaining Corroboree frog colonies have persisted in fire safe lawns. There was 200000 hectares of the Upper Murrumbidgee that was grazed green fire safe in 2003 bushfires that roared to the east through the Cotter basin into Canberra. The other fronts carried on to the main range burning except where the little Brumby mobs had maintained some lawns.

Canberra 2003 FiresOn January 8th 2003 a dry storm came through from Victoria as they often do. 700 lightening strikes lit 85 fires or more in the dry vegetation. Several fires were not put out, burnt much of the alps and burnt into the suburbs of Canberra. Canberra was drawing up to 85% of its water supplies from the Cotter basin when in 4 hours of 18.1.2003 160000 hectares was burnt including the catchment of Bendora dam and the lower Cotter dam severely burnt to mineral earth. Corin the highest of the reservoirs was less affected with night burns after the hot weather had past. A storm the following month washed sediment into the Bendora reservoir which finished that water supply for some time until a treatment plant was constructed to remove silt and soot from the supply.

Canberra is looking to source water from the Upper Murrumbidgee purchased off irrigators. Canberra is looking to increase their population from 320000 people to 420000 people in the near future and thus increasing their water needs to about 100 giga litres annually for Canberra and Queanbeyan residents. Canberra has a policy of removing Brumbies from their water catchment. Traditional horses were implicated in digging up the mountain flats and removed in 1987. In fact the impact was mistaken as feral pig digging. Brumbies make very different impressions to pigs that roll over with their leathery noses, grass sods looking for earthworms, lizards and orchid corms. Brumbies eat only grasses, herbs and nibble at certain shrubs. Horses tend to be reluctant to enter boggy areas if it can be avoided. Pigs again wallow in mud to maintain moist skin. Horses roll in moist grass in preference to mud to maintain skin health.

In 2003 the old but vacated ungrazed Brumby runs around the headwaters of vital streams burnt as never before in living memory. While the mountains were dryer than some seasons the summer of 2003 did offer some green fire safe vegetation where wildlife had grazed. Just in the adjacent valley to the Cotter, the Upper Murrumbidgee was grazed green by Brumby mobs and travelling cattle each November and May along the stock routes. Traditional big animal travel routes for the last 170 years resuming where the giant wombat and kangaroo left off in the last 6000-30000 years. No time at all ago when considering modern vegetation and big animals coevolved for many millions of years with a background of natural fire.

Aboriginal summer migrations seeking Bogong moths, yams, fringe lilies, ceremonies was accompanied by cool burning these thoroughfares to maintain the vitality of their hunting grounds and yam gardens for the last 20000 to 60000 years over lapping with the presence of the big native animals. Cool fires also enhance the quality of the water running between the ferns across large smooth rocks and gravel, herb infused and lightly carbon filtered. Sweet cold tasting so good.

Water seeping through rotting gum leaves is bitter, toxic, black by comparison and upsetting for frogs, tadpole, aquatic insects and fish. Cool little Aboriginal fires used to crackle across the tops of the fallen gum leaves smoking off all the toxins leaving a rich charcoal and potash to return nutrients to the soil, smoke to germinate the grasses, wildflowers and beautiful flowering shrubs. Stockmen adopted these practices where the big animals prepared for cool fires by kicking the bark away from the buttress roots of the ancient forest trees, compressing the twigs and gum leaves mulching the dry unpalatable dry grasses pruning and separating the flammable shrubs ensuring biologically beneficial cool burns.

Mega Fauna

Australian Mega Fauna sized to Cattle

Australia used to have 20 species of big wombats to 3 tonnes each. The biggest draught horses might weigh 1 tonne. Big herds migrating freely across Australia grooming the vegetation spaced well for cool fire. These big animals eating, in the order of 150 kilograms of vegetation a day of bark, branches, digging out shrubs and eating roots and all. Shrub and grass seed, soil fungi and essential bacteria would be brewed in their gut redistributed as pelleted seed set up for success so biodiversity was re-established on their travel routes and feeding areas. Scientists envisage big animal migrations in Australia would have been similar to those in Africa today, such as those involving 250000 zebra and 1.3 million wildebeest in one herd. More species of giraffe, elephants, antelope, birds travelling together according to seasonal rainfall, filling needs for water and feed.

In addition to the species of giant wombat Australia had at least 95 species of kangaroo and wallaby. The bigger species were between 150 and 300 kilogram pony sized. They too browsed shrubs to 3 metres into the canopy keeping the vegetation fire safe, gathered and redistributed seed, nutrients, soil organisms plants need to grow well. Their digestive systems were designed somewhere between that of horses and that of sheep or cattle. Horses and sheep graze grasses and browse shrubs where cattle mostly eat grass.

Stockmen used to say the more we came the prettier the mountains became as the flats and water ways grew sweet green grass and wildflower gardens. In a bushfire these lawns were fire safe havens for plants and animals. The streams and bogs were fire safe. Stream banks were stabilised and filtered the run off of soot or silt. Australian modern vegetation evolved with big animal activity cooling the summer fires.

A recent report indicated the mountains this summer were dry and the winds were exceptionally hot and dry in January. People were very concerned about the amount of dry grass piles of fallen gum leaves the dense flammable understorey. As the Brumbies are being removed said to enhance Canberra’s water supply moving from the Cotter to the Upper Murrumbidgee via the Tantangara dam. Water used to be diverted into the Murray and down to the irrigation areas or environmental flows. This water now goes down to Canberra’s new enlarged Cotter dam or pumped to Googong dam on the Queanbeyan river for Canberra to use as required.

Snowy High Country PackhorseThe horses as stock-horses, pack horses, timber team horses and more recently as free living Brumbies have been effective in maintaining fire safety in the Upper Murrumbidgee for over 150 years and around the biodiverse area of Yarrangabilly where the plant communities enjoy big animal activity. Many say the wildflowers persist better on the Brumby runs. As the horse populations are reduced, the travelling cattle stopped coming through, flammable woody weeds are taking over more of the snow plains. This is raising concerns that the Upper Murrumbidgee in future will not be safe from hot fires. The broad tooth rats, Corroboree frogs and other species retracting their distribution to active big animal grazed green lawns will disappear when the Brumbies are gone. The water supplies put at risk of hot fire are a greater concern than hoof prints in creek crossings.

Reports from the mountains suggest there are in the order of 30 trap yards being set with horses indiscriminately removed called for by environmental activists who seem unaware of the long term sustainability of removing big animals from the Australian ecology.

If we cannot grow up our remaining wombats and kangaroo fast enough to manage the relationships between fire vegetation growth and spacing then perhaps we should be reconsidering as are other countries internationally the ecological necessity of big animals in keeping our water supplies and biodiversity sustainable.

Some farmers are reporting an increase in kangaroo size where they are being left alone to cohabit with their sheep, cattle and horses. Grey kangaroo bucks growing as large as red roo 70-90+ kilograms where farm animals are maintaining fresh nutritious vegetation. Where kangaroo, wallaby, wallaroo, wombats, emu, possum have a choice of vacant timber or livestock lawns they vote with their feet and head for the paddocks. Maybe one day Australia will again have mega marsupial hastened by the return of big animal activity to the ecologies moved along by the return of big herds.

Internationally there is a rethink of the ecological place for big animals. Perhaps Australia should be reconsidering aerial culls and removal of our heritage horses, camel, donkey, water buffalo, and what relationships they have formed with native species biodiversity in the last 200 years. Not so fast as multiculturalism needs to be extended to rural Australia.

We listed to the multicultural indigenous history up to 60,000 years and adopted key components of their management.

Read more of Noeline Franklin


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Saving Australia’s brumbies (wild horses) from aerial shooters

May 2011 this video was posted showing the channel 9 “Sunday” program  reflecting on the Guy Fawkes brumby slaughter being pushed by governments and greens to shoot or butcher our heritage horse without serious re-homing being conducted.

Now in 2014 we see this lust for blood being pushed through a backdoor and the extinction of our brumby being carried out by public servants against the will of a very large section of caring Australians.


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Another 93 Brumbies Sent For Slaughter by NSW Government

Parks loading Brumbies – Note the yellow electric shock stick in right hand of man …

The Snowy People are disgusted with their staff that are meant to be acting in the best interests of their public land and national assets.

From the NSW Victorian ACT Federal Ministers down to field staff they have Brumby blood on their hands.

It appears the mighty dollar is geared to mindless big animal massacres and take their runs for water sales mark up the water price legacy of the environmental work Brumbies have done over decades.

Simpletons that live “battery hen” existences in their cement jungles paying little for a bounty of cheap clean sweet water are unaware of the environmental cost to that water. Our water catchments are deadly for grazing animals be they native wildlife or multicultural Australians like Brumbies. Australia’s freedom fighters tricked into entering trap yards laced by salt, molasses, rice straw in the depths of winter when the elite head off for their ski holidays and campaign for Brumby “removal.” Ethnic cleansing were environmentalists with strong non Australian accents are declaring themselves exempt. They are part of multicultural Australia aren’t they? But not the horses that preceded them? Built the cities, towns roads, railways, dams, food and water supplies.

From the salt laced trap yards the terrified horses are bundled onto trailers and sent to slaughter because its is “efficient!” say the economic rationalists. The Australian Brumby has been given its freedom to run in natural valleys providing tough sensible work horses. The valleys grazed green, fire safe, bio-diverse are very attractive to national park land grabs. The water, sweet and clean run off for sales at massive profits as the water does not need major or any treatment.

People calling themselves “environmental activists” live affluent lives in the cities expecting abundance of water, food no matter what the environmental or social cost, de-stocked, de-habited, locked up dingo infested land to inevitably incinerate in man made bushfire.

Water is drained off the once vibrant Brumby runs, once shared with wallaby, kangaroo, echidna, platypus, possum, lizards, frogs, fish, sea of wildflowers, birds of every colour and description. Another 93 Brumbies join the killing chains and goes with them the lifeblood of the Snowy drained away through the grate of the slaughter house.

The various Governments are pretending to be in public consultation about Brumby management or the more degraded demeaning language of “feral exotic pest.” The hunt is on to muster goons to stand in front of a camera back dropped by the latest deciduous Australian forest common site in public land converted to national park wilderness city water catchment commercial tourist destination the incinerated bushfire killed forests. The Snowy People are disgusted when Brumbies are shot for vegetation impact when mismanagement of their public land national heritage horses is there for the world to see. Why not shoot the policy makers that have burnt our high country and butcher the Brumby.

In the last decade unstoppable bushfires have ravaged between Canberra and Melbourne. Suburbs and towns leveled to burnt rubble. Farms wildlife mass extinction events yet our Government staff persist with maniac haste to destroy the Brumby the last effective vegetation manager in our public land. The last remaining pygmy possum, Mountain Plum Pine, Corroboree frogs, Alpine Spotted tree frogs, alpine skinks, broad tooth rat cling to the remaining effective, adequately stocked Brumby runs. Brumby runs either did not burn or burnt at low intensity. Defied so called effects of “climate change” when in fact massive unstoppable fires resulted from management change where big grazers were stripped away for short term unsustainable water sales profits at the expense of the ecology.

Blow in boffins and bureaucrats are setting about the extinction of not only the Brumby but the biodiversity that clings to the last of the big animal grazed green runs. 93 freedom and fire fighters, have been mindlessly sentenced to death by the economic rationalists that boast superior intellect just this last week. Happy birthday horses.

Australia loves you 100 years on from when 160,000 horses were exported in 1914. What a commemoration, more bloodshed.

What of the public consultation process with the public when this quantity of horses are being executed? Entire family groups exterminated mindlessly. These horses selected for temperament, constitution, soundness for many thousands of years. They fought loyally beside our soldiers for a free nation, humanity, democratic process. In their darkest hour these are values they are being denied for “efficiency”

Vandalism terminates this co-evolution with humanity for thousands of years within seconds in individuals but entire family groups sent off to extermination. Re-homing has largely been bypassed or resources over taxed by indecent haste and fanatical zeal to execute another ill conceived political orders issued coldly from afar.

Noeline Franklin,  B Sc (Hons),  PTC,  M Med Sc.

Noeline Franklin






Noeline Franklin is not only an experienced
Snowy Mountain farmer but a very qualified
scientist having 16 years with the CSIRO


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Report Leave Tumut Brumby Protection Community Dumbfounded

“The Straight Talk promise is clear and consistent: we ensure community members have their say and are heard. No matter what is said, our clients hear every voice, so they know where they stand”

So why did the community members at the June 25 meeting feel the client (National Parks) presented a listless token presence while two facilitator, obviously without knowledge or research of the brumby, fielded question way above their capabilities ?

Straight Talk is a boutique consultancy specialising in leading practice community engagement, stakeholder management and communication services.

So who are these people, take a look – – far from independent assessors being government contractors which beggars the question, ” what were their taxpayer funded fees”?


The Documentstraight-talk-logo

Wild Horse Management Plan Review Stakeholder
Meeting – 25 June 2014
28 July 2014

1 Introduction

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is currently reviewing its Wild Horse Management
Plan for the Kosciuszko National Park. Straight Talk has been engaged by NPWS to work with it on
this project and undertake a range of stakeholder and community engagement activities to feed into
the review.

To that end, NPWS and Straight Talk invited stakeholders with an interest in the review of the Wild
Horse Management Plan to attend a two hour meeting on Wednesday 25 June 2014 in Tumut.

The purpose of the meeting was to hear and capture initial stakeholder views about the
management of wild horses in the Kosciuszko National Park and understand the best way to engage
with them and their constituents over the coming months.

This record details the key discussion points made at the meeting by stakeholders and the agreed
next steps.


2 Key discussion points

  •   Lots of history around brumbies – believe we were conned with first horse plan to remove
    only 17 horses, then another plan to exclude horses from parts of the park – what does
    exclusion mean – but eradication? No target figures about how many to remove, learn from
    NPWS they are not taking enough out but don’t know what the target number was
  •   Understand pest management plans, isn’t it about eradication? Are you going to establish a
    sustainable number of horses, rabbits etc?
  •   Would be more comfortable if we rid eradication from the discussion – there are 5 plans that
    say NIL horses – this plan didn’t have those words because of us – have a feeling there are
    anti-brumby/horse NPWS who want to get rid of all horses
  •   What is the end objective of the plan?
  • Want the brumby recognised and protected (it’s not a feral animal)
  • Why is there a horse management plan from 2000 when they have been in the park for 160
    years – they weren’t an issues, it’s because of NPWS mismanagement
  •   Previously people used to get brumbies, numbers have increased because of controls
    breeding in exclusion zones
  • Hasn’t the environment changed in that time – bushfires, floods etc – lots of other animals
    having an impact (i.e. pigs’ poo in waterholes is  a big health issue) – aerial culling is a really
    scary thing
  •   Parks have created this problem themselves, stopping people taking horses, controlling
  •   From 2008 management plan – steering committee – doesn’t say anything about sustainable
    numbers, my group thinks this is about exterminating horses – we will consult if there is trust
    with Straight Talk and NPWS, if not it is ‘head butt’ zone – want to sit down to green-fields
  •   Originally removed horses form wilderness, then other areas, it’s all about numbers
  •   KNP – not one thing about horses in the plan, nothing about the value of horses in the plan
  • P28 of management plan is about measuring and how it will be monitored, assessment of its
    effectiveness and how can you develop a new plan without this being assessed. Have the
    assessments been made available? – need to see this before moving forward, need to see
    evidence base
  •   Saying the plan isn’t working but survey results aren’t known, how do you know the plan isn’t
  •   TRG – from bush users group can’t sit behind the microscope – we all love the bush, we want
    to keep it for our kids – there is knowledge in this room and don’t want to pay consultants
    when the knowledge is in this backyard
  •   We are relying on NPWS and their paid scientists to do their  job/right thing
  •   Passionate about bush, history, heritage
  •   Credibility of evidence has to be addressed before we move forward – scientists have pre-
    determined views (spreading seeds etc), media has so much influence
  •   More sphagnum bogs destroyed by the fires than would have been destroyed by horses –
    opponents (ABC, NPWS, NPA) – all funded by government
  •   With TRG have a representative from each interest group?
  •   Is the aerial survey result peer reviewed?
  •   TRG sounds great but it’s one sided – you are determined to do what you want to do – there
    are feral animals on my land, why aren’t NPWS doing something about them, why are they
    picking on horses?
  •   Won’t get the answer from scientists, will get the answer from having all of us involved
  • Want to be part of the TRG – not one wild horse person on the TRG – it’s just people with
    letters after their names, we’ve got 50 years’ experience in the bush
  • Who goes on the aerial survey flight paths – why can’t an independent person be involved so
    they can know the right number? – someone who doesn’t have a conflict of interest
  •   NPWS has been dodging – are they able to give up what a sustainable number is? – it not, is
    won’t be a management plan, it will be an eradication plan – the survey is irrelevant
  •   Why are you continuing to trap and remove, if there are some unanswered questions?
  •   Don’t have a management plan if you don’t know what you are managing (i.e. the numbers),
    aerial survey results are contentious, population growth figures are way out, as are the
    projected numbers – all detail can be proven to be incorrect
  •   Overseas data might be irrelevant here, i.e. survival/foaling rate – decisions based on
    incorrect data
  •   This consultation is a ploy to expand time whilst trapping program continues to be done –
    no-one form NPWS has agreed to consult on sustainable numbers, are you prepared to
    suspend trapping?
  •   No-one knew they were trapping horses in Snowy Plains – this is happening all over the KNP
  •   NPWS, will go hell for leather to remove horses as quickly as possible
  •   There is not the numbers of horses in the park to trash it – will you suspend the trapping
  •   If it is not a management plan, why not start putting $ on the horses and start earning money
    from them?
  •   There is no independent person counting the number of horses being removed – there is a
    reason to take more – as many as possible
  • Can get rid of a number of horses – shouldn’t they go to those people before they go to the
    knackery – they make $50 each – horses that could be place are not being placed
  •   Why can’t individuals come along and take a horse from the trap
  •   We want to be better represented  in the final decision making process
  •   We were the only 2 pro-brumby people on the committee – we signed a letter saying we
    didn’t support it – we were told nothing could happen til review
  •   It’s a P.O.V. not facts – it’s NPWS opinion
  • Fact sheets – need to show the whole story – history, heritage etc, cultural value
  •   Calling it a fact sheet is a problem – there’s no evidence – call it an information sheet not a
    fact sheet
  •   Hundreds of people go horse riding in the KNP
  •   One of the key points is that we are not getting a representative on the TRG
  • Select a time to have a meeting to work out the consultation process
  •   Bush users group has been negotiating for three years with NPWS – we have established a
    relationship (we have been information when we asked for it) – you can catch more bees
    with honey than with vinegar – if you haven’t got trust first – need to make it work with
  •   Can’t you let general public know when you go up in chopper to let people know
  •   Had calls to say things are coming up so we are prepared (have trust with NPWS)
  •   Australia did have kangaroos with hooves, large animals some only extinct last 6,000 years  –
    ground animals secret to our fire tolerance – need to review this – want to have ability to put
    this into the process
  •   It’s a farce – it’s a pre-determined outcome , the information is all negative material, it’s a
  •   Why isn’t roping allowed, what law is stopping it? How much does it cost to remove horses?
    We would do it for free
  •   What happened to other people who hurt themselves in the park?
  •   We want to be allowed to run brumbies
  •   We run tours – many people come to see brumbies – they are an attraction – skiing is
    becoming less sustainable – now working to extend/develop summer time activities – people
    come from around the world to see brumbies, they are an icon
  •   People caught horses for the war, so it is part of our history
  •   If brumby running is so bad, why not stop the places/events that have brumby roping
  •   Horses aren’t in the KNP, the KNP was put around horses
  •   Had loads of plants, small animals – there will be a travesty if we get rid of brumbies – we will
    see outcome in 100 years – similar to issue with removal of bison
  •   NPWS are infinitely better, better trust than Victoria.

3 Next Steps

During the meeting the following next steps were agreed:

  •   Participants would be sent a copy of the notes taken during the meeting (this record)
  •   A second stakeholder meeting  would be held to discuss the engagement process in more
  •   The meeting would be held during the day on a weekend.



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