In this stunning book, photographer Melanie Faith Dove takes a contemporary look at the High Country families proudly carrying on their long-held bush traditions, and training the next generation to become the custodians of the land.
At the onset of summer, they drove the cattle into the high country – and then, before the autumn snows arrive, muster them home to the farmland below. The cows know the run and teach the calves, passing the knowledge down. In much the same way, the cattlemen teach the now seventh generation the intimate secrets of the mountains, rivers and seasons as they tackle rigorous river crossings and mountainous terrain on horseback from a young age.
The sublime photographs in this book document the proud yet threatened tradition of the mountain cattlemen who, as environmental legislation strips the families of their long-held summer grazing leases in the alpine regions, are on the brink of extinction. In NSW the cattlemen’s heritage is now nothing more than legend, and in Victoria and Tasmania just a few remaining families desperately hold on to their leases in subalpine state forests on the periphery of national parks or privately owned pockets of land.