Ride ‘em cowboy!
Coburg Cowboys at Parker’s farm, north east Coburg. Image courtesy Coburg Historical Society.
Around the time of the First World War, the Coburg Cowboys were local celebrities. They had their headquarters at the ‘Southern Cross Ranch’ in Bell Street and began appearing around the traps in about 1910.
Indian Pomp was their chief and he led a team of over twenty local men who performed dare devil feats on horseback for huge crowds all around the suburbs. His riders included Duckfoot Bowden, Tenderfoot Howden, Bluegum Leo, Buffalo McGann, Rooster Hodson and Mustang Robson.
Rodeo. c1914. Leo ‘Rooster’ Hodson on the right.
Image courtesy Coburg Historical Society.
The Coburg Cowboys were prominent in fund-raising carnivals all over Melbourne during the war years and by 1916 at least two of their number had enlisted. ‘Broncho Bill’ joined the AIF and by November 1916 was in England, presumably waiting to go to the Western Front. ‘Bud’ Taylor left Australia in 1913 and headed for Texas where he won a number of rough riding competitions. At the outbreak of war he was working on a ranch in Canada. After enlisting in the prestigious Lord Strathcona’s Horse, he served in France.
At this stage I have been unable to discover more about Broncho Bill and Bud Taylor’s war and I don’t know whether any other members of the Coburg Cowboys enlisted, but I’m working on it!