Harry "Breaker" MorantPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Diane Watson

A monument commemorates Harry "Breaker " Morant who was executed for treason in South Africa during the Boer War.  The memorial commemorates his time in the Bourke area writing bush ballads.

At least twelve signatures were used by Morant.  He only contributed one poem to The Queenslander, "Harlequin" penned at Muttaburra in Queensland in June 1888.  It was signed "The Horsebreaker."  This would seem to be his oldest surviving poem.

His first contribution to the Bulletin was "Summer" published in November 1889, then "The Encore Fiend" again in November 1889, then in December 1889 "Her Ambition".  He signed them off with his customary "B", which is why not many people have spotted them as Morant's work.  

When the South African War broke out in 1899 he enlisted in Adelaide in the 2nd Contingent, South Australian Mounted Rifles, as Harry Harbord Morant. Along with P.J. Handcock, Morant was court-martialled for executing several Boer prisoners and a German missionary. He was found guilty and executed by firing squad on February 27th 1902.


Address:Mitchell Street (Mitchell Highway) , Poets Corner, Central Park, Bourke, 2842
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -30.089231
Long: 145.939744
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People


Front Inscription
Harry 'The Breaker' Morant
'Bush Poet, Bush Horseman & Bushveldt Carbineer'

Harry Harbord Morant known as the 'Breaker' was born in the County of Somerset, England on December 9th 1864 and sailed for Australia on the SS Waroonga on April 1st 1883. 

Morant was in the Enngonia - Bourke region in the latter part of 1895 and worked on a number of stations throughout NSW and Qld as a horse breaker and drover. Those stations included: Bundaleer, Tinnenburra, Morton Plains, Belalie, Kallara, Brindengabba, Caiwarro and Curawinya.

Morant was a popular bush poet writing for 'The Bulletin' magazine along with Lawson. Paterson and Ogilvie. 

" Station songs and droving ditties!
     Strung together on the track
Far away from the coastal cities
     In the droving days outback. 

Some on distant water-courses
'Neath the blazing Northern sun,
When returning with the horses 
To a far North Western run.

Jingles! - neither good nor clever - 
Just a rover's random rhymes
But they'll serve their turn if ever
They recall the old bush times. 

When a bushman in his leisure,
Reads them 'neath the shady pine;
Or they give one moments pleasure
To some old bush mate o'mine!" 
                                              'The Breaker' 

Harry Morant joined the South Australian Mounted Rifles and sailed to South Africa where he was shot by firing squad on February 27th, 1902. 

After 'The Breaker's' death his friend Will Ogilvie wrote the following:

"Breaker Morant was the name he earned,  For no bucking horse could throw
This Englishman who lived and learned As much as the bushmen know. 

Many a mile have we crossed together. Out where the great plains lie,
To the clink of bit and the creak of leather Harry Morant and I." 

Source: MA,ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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