Rochelle's ride to commemorate Australian pioneer women

Rochelle Grey will travel with her two horses, Frodo and Zee, and border collie Rowdy. Photo: contributed

Rochelle Grey will travel with her two horses, Frodo and Zee, and border collie Rowdy. Photo: contributed

A librarian from Gundagai who is reenacting journeys by Australian pioneer women will begin the first of six treks in Young this weekend.

Rochelle Grey will travel with her two horses, Frodo, a 10-year-old grey Australian stock horse, Zee, a 16-year-old chestnut quarter horse, and border collie Rowdy.

The first journey, beginning Saturday, will commemorate Sarah Musgrave, the first European child born west of the Great Divide, who rode 90 miles through bushranger-infested bushland to attend her own wedding in 1853.

"I love Sarah's story - she was clearly a girl of enormous capacity, courage, and endurance. The route of the journey will pass through Young, Wombat, Harden, Galong, Binalong and Yass, over nine days," Rochelle said.

Rochelle is raising money for Girl Guides Australia. "Their mission is to nurture girls and young women into resilient and self-respecting members of the community mirrors the values of the women I am commemorating.

"My main hope is that I can bring the stories of these pioneer women back to life and for them to be role models to today's girls and women, and that they can feel empowered that they too can look challenging circumstances in the eye and say, 'I can do that'."

Other pioneer women Rochelle will be riding for include Caroline Chisholm, who rode around much of inland NSW in her work protecting the rights of migrant women, Susannah Franklin, the mother of legendary author Miles Franklin, who rode alone through the Snowy Mountains wilderness seven months pregnant and riding sidesaddle through the snow to give birth to her famous daughter in 1879, Grace Munro, who left Sydney for Bingara in northwestern NSW and helped found the Country Women's Association in 1922, and Clara and Emma Harrod, who rode 400 miles from Victoria coast to northern NSW in 1867 for Emma to marry a wealthy stranger and save her family's fortune.

Rochelle said she has dual interests in women's history and long-distance horse trekking. "I began my librarianship career in Talbingo, where the esteemed Australian author Miles Franklin was born. It was there that I heard the story of a remarkable journey made by Miles' mother, Susannah Franklin," Rochelle said.

"Pioneer women have been greatly overlooked in the Australian historical record, but it was their resilience that saw children birthed, injuries doctored, food provided, and social and civil norms upheld. They often made journeys of great hardship, both accompanied and alone, and their courage and strength make them wonderful role models."

Visit 'Ride Like A Girl To' Facebook page to donate.

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