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  • Writer's pictureAmy Haldane

Icelandic Horses Near Burke Street , Melbourne

The first Icelandic Horses arriving into Australia in the 1863 arrived into Melbourne on the Ship the Venus from Liverpool.


The Argus newspaper writes " She brings four Iceland ponies, which are in good order"


So what about Burke Street ?

Well they were then put up for sale at Kirks Bazaar. Which back then was situated on the North side of Burke Street Hill, between Elizabeth St and Queen St, which area is now occupied by Hardware Street.


"THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 5.

Iceland Ponies.

Kirk's Horse Bazaar.

C. YUILLE and Co. are instructed to SELL by, . AUCTION, on the above date.

Four beautiful Iceland ponies, admirably suited for Juveniles, being perfectly docile and quiet. Just imported by the Venus. They are on view at tho bazaar until day of sale."


( from the Argus Sat 31 January 1863 )


On the 6th Feb 1863 it was reported in the Argus that that the "Iceland Ponies averaged £21 each"


It's quite a surreal experience walking the streets of Melbourne that those original Icelandic Horses walked some 160 + years before me!


If you're a bit of a history/architecture buff - there is a great documentary I watched recently on SBS on demand called the "Lost City of Melbourne". The beginning of the film gives a really good idea of how beautiful and modern Melbourne was at the time those little Iceland ponies were arriving. I'd not really thought of it in that context before.


Kirks bazaar sounds like it was a busy/choatic place and there are some very interesting characters and stories about it. It also has connections to the first Melbourne Cup!!!


I'm looking into the early history of the Icelandic Horses in Australia so if you do have any fun information I'd love to hear from you. One lady once sent me an amazing photo of the timor x icelandic mare her mum had which they used to take her and her brother to school.




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