About The Man from Snowy River Trail
In 1845, the Port Philip district was to be separated off to form the colony of “Victoria”, Deputy Surveyor General, Major Thomas Mitchell, instructed Government Surveyor Thomas Townsend, to locate the “nearest source of the Murray to the east coast at Cape Howe”, and not necessarily the true hydrographical source of the Murray, from which point the dividing line between the colonies would be drawn.
In mid-1894, funds were made available through treasury, to the Victorian mines department, to put in a network of tracks of which the track up the Indi was just one. It was to be constructed in two sections, the first to link Corryong with Tom Groggin and the second section to follow up the Indi from Groggin to the mouth of Limestone Creek and then on to the head of Limestone creek, to connect with the Omeo-Jindabyne track. (This latter track had long been used by the stockmen taking cattle across the Alps from Omeo Plains to the Monaro and vice versa.
The purpose of the track, according to the submission for the Victorian Mines Department 1895 Annual report (Published in 1896), was threefold.
‘Firstly – to form a highway along the boundary of the colony in an area where it was hitherto non-existent’.
‘Secondly – to open up steep mountainous country believed to be of auriferous character and enable the mining population of the Upper Murray Valley to extend their operations towards the river’s sources’, and
‘Thirdly – to aid the development of the area known as the “Buckwong” district’.
Banjo Patterson’s famous Australian poem, The Man from Snowy River, was based on a story by Upper Murray stockman Jack Riley.
In 1884 Irishman Jack Riley came to the Upper Murray, where he took up employment as a stockman with the Pierce family whom owned the property at Tom Groggin, at the base of the main range of the Snowy Mountains, became Jack Riley’s home for the last thirty years of his life.
In 1914 Jack became very ill and friends from the Towong region set off to bring him back to Corryong. However Jack died on route along the track built by the Victorian mines department. His body now lay in the pioneer section of the Corryong cemetery.
In March 2011 the Corryong community with support from the Towong Shire and Victorian Government placed a full size statue of the Man on his horse in full flight in the town centre.