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Westerns
Snowy River: The McGregor Saga

Title Card - SNOWY RIVER: THE MCGREGOR SAGA

Family Channel
1993 - 1996
Drama
60 Minutes

Set in the late 19th century in a small mountain town outside of Melbourne near Paterson's Ridge, this adventure follows the exploits of the McGregor clan as they run the family's sprawling Langara ranch.

The McGregor family and friends included:

  • Andrew Clarke as Matt McGregor, a rancher who earned fame for rounding up a mob of wild horses 25 years earlier as a young man.
  • Brett Climo as Colin McGregor. Matt's son.
  • Guy Pearce as Rob McGregor, Matt's son
  • Jolene Crnogorac as Danielle 'Danni' McGregor
  • Sheryl Munks as Emily Cornish-McGregor.
  • Joshua Lucas as Luke McGregor, Matt's vengeful nephew who dies.
  • Wendy Hughes as Kathleen O'Neil, Matt's feisty, independent female friend, whom he later married. She ran her own ranch, taught school and operated the local newspaper.

The McGregor Family - SNOWY RIVER: THE MCGREGOR SAGA

The McGregor's nemesis was the Blackwood family who owned a nearby estate called Balmoral. They included:

  • John Stanton as Oliver Blackwell, the family patriarch..
  • Rodney Bell as Frank Blackwood, Oliver's vain son who dresses in black. He took over the family ranch when his father disappeared.
  • Amanda Douge as Victoria Blackwell, Oliver's bickering daughter who shared the ranch.


TRIVIA NOTE: The series is based on a poem written by Andrew Barton Banjo' Paterson (1864-1941). It inspired the movies The Man from Snowy River (1982) and The Man from Snowy River II (1988) as well as the TV series. Here's the poem mate:

The Man From Snowy River
by Banjo' Paterson

There was movement at the station,
for the word had passed around
That the colt from old Regret had got away,
And had joined the wild bush horses,
he was worth a thousand pound,
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray.
All the tried and noted riders from the stations near and far
Had mustered at the homestead overnight,
For the bushmen love hard riding
where the wild bush horses are,
And the stock-horse snuffs the battle with delight.

There was Harrison, who made his pile
 when Pardon won the cup,
The old man with his hair as white as snow;
But few could ride beside him
when his blood was fairly up,
He would go wherever horse and man could go.
And Clancy of the Overflow came down to lend a hand,
No better horseman ever held the reins;
For never horse could throw him
while the saddle-girths would stand,
He learnt to ride while droving on the plains.

And one was there, a stripling on a small and weedy beast,
He was something like a racehorse undersized,
With a touch of Timor pony,
three parts thoroughbred at least,
And such as are by mountain horsemen prized.
He was hard and tough and wiry,
just the sort that won't say die
There was courage in his quick impatient tread;
And he bore the badge of gameness in his bright and fiery eye,
And the proud and lofty carriage of his head.

But still so slight and weedy,
one would doubt his power to stay,
And the old man said, `That horse will never do
For a long and tiring gallop, lad, you'd better stop away,
Those hills are far too rough for such as you.'
So he waited sad and wistful, only Clancy stood his friend,
`I think we ought to let him come,' he said;
`I warrant he'll be with us when he's wanted at the end,
For both his horse and he are mountain bred.

`He hails from Snowy River, up by Kosciusko's side,
Where the hills are twice as steep and twice as rough,
Where a horse's hoofs strike firelight
from the flint stones every stride,
The man that holds his own is good enough.
And the Snowy River riders
on the mountains make their home,
Where the river runs those giant hills between;
I have seen full many horsemen
since I first commenced to roam,
But nowhere yet such horsemen have I seen.'

So he went, they found the horses by the big mimosa clump,
They raced away towards the mountain's brow,
And the old man gave his orders,
 `Boys, go at them from the jump,
No use to try for fancy riding now.
And, Clancy, you must wheel them,
try and wheel them to the right.
Ride boldly, lad, and never fear the spills,
For never yet was rider that could keep the mob in sight,
If once they gain the shelter of those hills.'

So Clancy rode to wheel them, he was racing on the wing
Where the best and boldest riders take their place,
And he raced his stock-horse past them,
 and he made the ranges ring
With the stockwhip, as he met them face to face.
Then they halted for a moment,
while he swung the dreaded lash,
But they saw their well-loved mountain full in view,
And they charged beneath the stockwhip
 with a sharp and sudden dash,
And off into the mountain scrub they flew.

Then fast the horsemen followed,
 where the gorges deep and black
Resounded to the thunder of their tread,
And the stockwhips woke the echoes,
 and they fiercely answered back
From cliffs and crags that beetled overhead.
And upward, ever upward, the wild horses held their way,
Where mountain ash and kurrajong grew wide;
And the old man muttered fiercely,
 `We may bid the mob good day,
NO man can hold them down the other side.'

When they reached the mountain's summit,
even Clancy took a pull,
It well might make the boldest hold their breath,
The wild hop scrub grew thickly,
and the hidden ground was full
Of wombat holes, and any slip was death.
But the man from Snowy River let the pony have his head,
And he swung his stockwhip round and gave a cheer,
And he raced him down the mountain like a torrent down its bed,
While the others stood and watched in very fear.

He sent the flint stones flying, but the pony kept his feet,
He cleared the fallen timber in his stride,
And the man from Snowy River never shifted in his seat,
It was grand to see that mountain horseman ride.
Through the stringy barks and saplings,
on the rough and broken ground,
Down the hillside at a racing pace he went;
And he never drew the bridle till he landed safe and sound,
At the bottom of that terrible descent.

He was right among the horses as they climbed the further hill,
And the watchers on the mountain standing mute,
Saw him ply the stockwhip fiercely,
he was right among them still,
As he raced across the clearing in pursuit.
Then they lost him for a moment,
 where two mountain gullies met
In the ranges, but a final glimpse reveals
On a dim and distant hillside the wild horses racing yet,
With the man from Snowy River at their heels.

And he ran them single-handed
 till their sides were white with foam.
He followed like a bloodhound on their track,
Till they halted cowed and beaten,
then he turned their heads for home,
And alone and unassisted brought them back.
But his hardy mountain pony he could scarcely raise a trot,
He was blood from hip to shoulder from the spur;
But his pluck was still undaunted, and his courage fiery hot,
For never yet was mountain horse a cur.

And down by Kosciusko, where the pine-clad ridges raise
Their torn and rugged battlements on high,
Where the air is clear as crystal,
and the white stars fairly blaze
At midnight in the cold and frosty sky,
And where around the Overflow
 the reedbeds sweep and sway
To the breezes, and the rolling plains are wide,
The man from Snowy River is a household word to-day,
And the stockmen tell the story of his ride.

Banjo' Paterson also wrote the famous poem "Waltzing Matilda" which has since become the "the unofficial national anthem of Australia".

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