The VT&DHG was started with a small notice in the Weekly Times in the winter of 2008, asking for those interested the tradesman's & delivery horses and vehicles, to meet at the Bendigo Showgrounds. During this meeting the future of the traditional delivery vehicles, harness and horses was discussed. As the history, heritage and traditions of these vehicles was/is at risk of being lost, due to the decline in exhibitors participating at agricultural show throughout the state. An overwhelming number of people wanting to preserve this heritage and tradition, attended this meeting, and the Victorian Tradesman's & Delivery Horse Group was born. Along with preserving the traditions of tradesman's & delivery vehicles, harness and horses. We aim to educate future generations on the importance of the horse drawn delivery in the life of the past century. By holding educational days and weekends, we aim to give people a broader knowledge, of not only our traditions, but also the fundamentals of driving, preparing, showing and enjoying the harness horse or pony.
The showing aspect of the horse drawn delivery era, allowed retail businesses a further opportunity to showcase their wares to a wider community. A great deal of time and effort went into the preparation for a show (and still does to this day). Not only for the business owner (ensuring they had the best horse, cart and harness they could), but also for the driver and his horse. As well as being prepared for the showring, the horses and vehicles were still required to perform their daily delivery duties. The showring was also an important place for the coachbuilders and harness makers of this time. A place to gather new ideas, recieve praise for magnificent workmanship and obtain future business. Each business had traditional styles and colours, which were seen on their vehicles, and enabled instant recognition. To win a first prize ribbon was (and still is) a great achievement. Well cared for vehicles and harness could be shown for many years, even by the next generations. The best way of passing down the heritage and traditions from this period in time.
The Victorian Tradesman's & Delivery Horse Group Inc (VT&DHG) aims to preserve the history and heritage of the delivery horses', the magnificent vehicles they pulled and the tradesmen which they represented. Many highlights and memories from this bygone era, when horses were a continuious and ubiqitous presence on the streets, are still remembered today. None more so that the clip clops and harnesses jingling, which heralded the arrival of the days deliveries. The presence of the delivery horse was an intrinsic part of the structure of the retailing sector, during this period. People of all ages were drawn to the delivery horse, they were attracted by his power, grace and wonderful nature. The men and women who worked with these horses, also recognised these traits and this helped to build a very strong relationship between horse and handler/driver. With this connection came a bond which extended beyond the call of duty. The horse had complete trust in his master, and master in his horse.