Caring for the High Country since 1834
Welcome to the Mountain Cattlemen's Association of Victoria.
The Mountain Cattlemen’s Association of Victoria (MCAV) represents a hardy group of people whose families and predecessors have grazed their cattle and maintained the Victorian High Country dating back to 1834.
Early records point to the fact that Mountain Cattlemen have been in the Victorian High Country since James McFarlane settled at McFarlane’s Flat before 1834, this was before the Henty’s settled near Portland.
Gradually pioneering families discovered the lush High Country plains and began the annual summer trek with their cattle. Vital knowledge of how the bush works was gradually learned.Traditions and an important part of Victorian history was forged by these hardy people whose home farms were situated in the foothills around districts including Gelantipy, Omeo, Benambra, Mitta Mitta, Dargo, Mt Beauty, Bright, Mansfield and Heyfield.
In part the knowledge these families accumulated, especially the need for regular burning of the country, was obtained by observation and copying of indigenous burning practices.The Cattlemen carried out regular burning of their runs until stopped by the Authorities some sixty years ago. Immediately the bush began to change and the Cattlemen now point out with despair that fuel loads are out of control. They explain that where once you could easily travel anywhere through the bush, that is now not possible as riders and walkers are faced with impenetrable scrub instead of the original open ‘Park like’ country.Many bridle/walking tracks are becoming very unpleasant and indeed many are impassable throughout the High Country. This funnels everyone on to the four wheel drive tracks rather than them spreading out across the vast area.
Mountain Cattlemen’s cattle did a great job keeping the bridle/walking tracks open in the Alpine National Park, unfortunately for the public - not any more.
The Mountain Cattlemen’s Association of Victoria (MCAV) agrees with indigenous fire expert Victor Steffensen that the bush is “sick” and we are advocating current management must change.
To that end the MCAV has been working closely with Indigenous representatives to raise awareness of the problem and we are supporting changes in management to reflect traditional burning practices. Have a look on our firestick page for more information.
The MCAV has been advocating to Governments, Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) should be utilized in Government decisions affecting public land.Mountain Cattlemen families have many generations of TEK and are willing to share the information. (TEK is used collaboratively between authorities and locals in many overseas countries to achieve better management)
The MCAV will continue to advocate for changes to management of our public land including utilizing grazing as a management tool where appropriate.
We will continue to fight for the retention of the few State Forest grazing licences which are left and which we believe are now under threat.
The issues the MCAV have been dealing with recently include supporting the retention of heritage mobs of Brumbies and we oppose complete eradication of our famous horses.
With the deer now trashing the High Country environment, we have been advocating for stronger opportunities for hunters to reduce or at least contain deer numbers including creating ‘tenure blind ‘management of hunters. This means the same rules should apply to hunters (including Hound Hunters) for State Forest and National Parks. The Irony is that the environmental impact of deer is hundreds of times more than a few old cows grazing lightly across thousands of hectares of the High Plains for only a few months a year.
Why Mountain Cattlemen?
In this day and age, you may wonder why our women members are called Mountain Cattlemen, and why the MCAV has not adopted what could be claimed to be a more politically correct name.Our female members are unanimous, - “We are Mountain Cattlemen and proud of it.”
I hope you enjoy our new website, all feedback welcome.
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