Honours Degree of Bachelor of Science - Human Geography
Department of Geography and Sustainable Communities
Professor Gordon Waitt and Professor Michael Adams
Owens, Jennifer, Assembling Horses in Kosciuszko National Park,
Honours Degree of Bachelor of Science - Human Geography,
Department of Geography and Sustainable Communities,
University of Wollongong, 2015.
Kosciuszko National Park is located around 350km south-west of Sydney and is the largest National Park in NSW. Kosciuszko National Park is home to a horse population of an estimated 6000 horses. The presence of these horses within the park is highly controversial due to a range of stakeholders having different perspectives based on different contexts that horses can be placed in. With the 2008 Horse Management Plan up for review in 2013, the re-introduction of aerial culling as a control method was being considered. This created a large divide and subsequent debates around factors such as actual horse numbers in the park, horse impacts, horse control methods and the ideas around the horses’ right to belong in the Park. Data for this project was accessed through a range of sources such as semi-structured interviews and online content that was made available through discussion forums and social media. A main focus of the methodology involved situating myself within the project to experience an entirely embodied approach to the research, therefore introducing the idea of ‘brumbiness’. Analysis of the debate was approached by using the conceptual tool of assemblage thinking. By investigating the assemblages of the horse, the horse was deconstructed which allowed the debate to be analysed through these various horse constructs. An analysis of the 2008 Horse Management Plan opened up the view of the NPWS as seeing the horse as feral. Analysis of the public debate saw the horse assembled as ‘brumby’ or ‘feral’, and the politics of blame were explored to uncover different perspectives towards impacts within Kosciuszko National Park. Horse narratives were also analysed to give further insight into the assemblage of the horse as a brumby, and how connections that develop between humans and horses play an integral part in the forming of people’s experiences of brumbiness.