BRUMBY: Restoring a piece of Brooms Head’s heart
HE WAS the symbol of a beachside community, and although the Brooms Head brumby has passed on, there's a new horse in town to gift it a lift.
Resident Steve Otton was one of the Brooms Head brumby's greatest proponents, publishing a book on the animal last year, and he wanted to give the town something to remember the legendary horse by.
"He's really missed in the town," he said. "You used to drive across the bridge and everyone would look for him, finding out where he was.
"Now it's a bit flat (without him) and I thought this might be a good thing to do."
After his herd was killed by the 2000 bushfire, the brumby wandered the flats of the Yuraygir National Park alone. He died in January 2019, and is buried at the rear of the Brooms Head Bowling Club, a place he often frequented.
Mr Otton said the idea of a new brumby figure that people could see came from a friend, and a search for a fibreglass horse provided instant success.
The tall fibreglass horse was part of a display at Expo 88 in Brisbane, and is created out of pure fibreglass, joined in two parts.
"I found him straight away and I didn't look back," Mr Otton said.
"He really gave me the right vibe, he's got a happy face."
Mr Otton paid a deposit two months ago, and on receiving a phone call from the owner last week, who was concerned about possible border closures, Mr Otton made a dash over the border in the rain to bring the new brumby home.
"We drove through the night, and he rode like a charm," Mr Otton said.
"He's a bit rough and ready - just like brumby - but he's as strong as an ox, really well made and didn't budge."
Strapped to the back of his ute on display at the entrance to Brooms Head, the tall horse with a flowing mane has already attracted the attention of some locals.
"He's got a big mouth, and that tail is just like him - brumby had a magnificent tail," Mr Otton said.
The replica will be painted by local artist Linda El Mir over the coming months and Mr Otton is in talks with the Brooms Head Bowling Club to give him a place where everyone can see him again.
"It's important to have him because he's missing, and it's made my heart turn over knowing I've got this to replace him," he said.
"It's all we can do now."