From shearer to showman, Tim O’Brien has become a modern day Man from Snowy River.
The man from Boggy Creek turned his hobby into a growing tourism attraction, with residents and visitors experiencing the “wow factor” of a cattleman’s life at his self-designed, self-funded and self-promoted performance.
As part of the two-hour show, Mr O’Brien cracks whips at targets, musters cattle, works his dogs and sheep, and does tricks alongside his specially trained feral horses, dogs, pigs and goats.
He said the dream became a reality 13 years ago when he made the decision to work from home.
Having travelled as a shearer across the country, the skilled horseman said there was a need for him to be on the farm, to address any issues as they came up.
Mr O’Brien said the move to turn his home into a stage then followed.
“I built everything from scratch … I started with a few hay bales as seats,” Mr O’Brien said.
“Then it grew a bit … and we extended … it’s his 150 people at one time.”
As a fourth-generation mountain cattleman, he had always been handy with horses and animals.
Combining history with the 21st century, Mr O’Brien said he brought a unique, entertaining and educational perspective to present-day farming life.
“People need to know what happens out here,” he said. “Tourism is all about what used to happen … I thought people needed to know what happens now and how we do things.”
The regional attraction is set in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains, outside Tumbarumba, with the amphitheatre built to overlook the rolling hills of the poetry-inspired valley.
Guests are greeted with billy-brewed tea around a fire on arrival and are told a brief history of the area, before Mr O’Brien arrives on horseback.
“There’s a lot of comedy,” he said.
“There’s nine different segments and each one is education, has a wow factor and there’s a fair bit of humour in it.”
The Riverina’s Boggy Creek Show runs from Spring to Winter, entertaining groups with about 40 performances every year.