There are several contenders from different parts of the Snowy Mountains region for being the actual person depicted in Banjo Paterson’s poem, The Man from Snowy River. Banjo, himself, said that it wasn’t based on any one person. But that doesn’t stop the town of Corryong in north eastern Victoria, from being sure that they know who the real Man from Snowy River was.
They say that Jack Riley, a stockman employed for 23 years at Tom Groggin Station on the NSW/Vic border, was the subject of the poem. According to local historians at Corryong’s Man from Snowy River Museum, when Banjo Paterson was on a camping trip with a friend in the Snowy Mountains, he met Jack Riley and heard from him the story of the famous ride.
You can visit Jack Riley’s grave in Corryong and pay your respects to the skilled stockman, who could be the subject of the following verse, and the poet who made him famous.
“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.”