The Man from Snowy River wasn't a man but a boy

Journey's end: Oatley's Cliff Crane believes he has finally found the identity of the Man From Snow River. Picture: John Veage
Journey's end: Oatley's Cliff Crane believes he has finally found the identity of the Man From Snow River. Picture: John Veage

For Oatley's Cliff Crane, the search is over for the identity of The Man from Snowy River.

Mr Crane has been on a 25-year quest to find a missing piece of evidence that would conclusively prove the inspiration for Banjo Paterson's The Man From Snowy River.

During his search many possibilities presented themselves.

There was even a suggestion that the inspiration for the rider in the poem was a woman.

Last weekend, he revealed the result of his research.

The inspiration for the Man from Snowy River wasn't actually a man - he was an 11 year-old boy.

So Cliff Crane announced at The Banjo Paterson More Than A Poet Museum at Yeoval on Sunday.

Mr Crane was keynote speaker at the annual gathering which this year marked the 156th anniversary of the birthday of Banjo Paterson.

"What led to writing of the epic 'The Man from Snowy River' by Paterson when he was 26 years-old was an indelible and lifetime unforgettable memory from when he was a young boy," Mr Crane said.

"When he was nine-years-old Barty Paterson, as he was then called, witnessed close-up the death of an 11 year-old schoolmate Edward Hall at Binalong when he was thrown from a horse.

"Edward Hall was killed instantly when thrown from a young horse at the end of a headlong barebacked ride down a long hill covered with fallen timber," he said.

Mr Crane grew up in the Snowy Mountains foothills and feels a personal connection with Banjo Paterson.

Over the years he has travelled the state doing presentations of Paterson's works and life and times to historical and Probus Clubs.

While many people stepped forward to say they were the inspiration for The Man From Snowy River, Paterson's family said the poem was not based on any particular person.

But Mr Crane provided strong evidence during his presentation to support his claim that witnessing the death of young Edward Hall at the end of that headlong ride down the side of a steep hill - "clearing fallen timber in his stride ..." left a lasting impression on the future writer who wrote his famous poem 17 years after the fatal accident.

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