by Hannah Paine
Local horse owners, who had their agistment at Yaralla Estate on the Parramatta River terminated in May after a condition report found the estate had run into disrepair, have expressed concern over the decision by custodians of the Estate to turn the grounds into 13 hectares of parkland at the expense of their horses.
The announcement, made by the Sydney Local Health District in August, means the end of a tender of NSW Mounted Police horses in the Yaralla Estate stables. Yaralla has been a popular place for local families to go to visit their horses since it was left for the community’s benefit by Dame Eadith Walker who died in 1937.
Carolyn Hartley, 49, has had horses at Yaralla Estate for 31 years; she and her daughter, Caela, have had their horse Murphy there for the past 18. “I can’t put it into words about what has gone on in the last couple of months,” Carolyn Hartley says. “It was a place you could take your kids, it was unique.”
For Carolyn and Caela, the announcement is bittersweet. While they are glad the estate will be open to the public to use as they always have, they are upset that they will have to find Murphy a new home in stables far from the family home.
Jeanette O’Hara, former Canada Bay Councillor and Deputy Mayor, is committed to Yaralla Estate’s preservation as a historical site and helps run open days. The announcement concerns her.
“The agistment should be there; it’s a perfect place for the horses. We should be able to have input in our area when we’ve lived here for so many years,” she says.
Luke Foley, MLC, echoes this sentiment. “The decision is against the community’s wishes,” he says. The Parliamentary Inquiry into the agistment of horses at Yaralla Estate is still ongoing and expected to conclude at the end of September.