Held annually over the first weekend in May at the Rosedale Complex in Murrurundi
A Brief History
In 2001 some local stockmen competed in the Snowy River Challenge at Corryong in Victoria. Talks by a campfire during that event soon became centred round the idea of starting something similar in the Upper Hunter.
Initially it was difficult to convince the local council and residents that such an event was needed. It wasn’t until the end of 2002 that a possible venue came to light when the then Mayor of Murrurrundi Shire, Earl Kelaher suggested using the Rosedale Horse Complex..…and so it began. What has now become one of the premier Stockmen’s Challenges in Australia was underway.
Something or someone was still needed to base our Challenge around. A bloke named Bung McInnes was mentioned, being known as “King of the Ranges” when working round Moonan, the Tops and Barrington in the early 1900’s. And there we had it…..Corryong had The Man from Snowy River. Murrurundi had the King of the Ranges!
In 2013, the King of the Ranges Stockmen’s Challenge & Bush Festival was named a NSW Regional Flagship Event, with visitors and competitors coming to Murrurundi from all parts of NSW, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.
The event is held over four days leading up to the last weekend in February.
Archie “BUNG” McInnes
The inspiration for the Challenge, Arch has been described as ”a character of bygone years, a champion buckjumper, a true blue bushman and just a good fellow”.
Known throughout the Hunter Valley as the “King of the Ranges” for his hazardous work as a stockman on the spurs and in the ranges, Arch joined the 1st Battalion Light Horse at the outbreak of World War One and fought in the desert campaign, was wounded, and decorated with the Military Medal. After the war he continued his life as a stockman and champion buckjumper. He died in 1940 exactly as he had wished “with my boots on and in the saddle”.
Arch was a true bush legend and his spirit lives on in this iconic Australian Event.