Queensland’s Calrossie Station is renowned both for its Hereford/Angus-cross cattle and as the birthplace of the Hartwig polocrosse dynasty.

Story & photos by James McEwan

The thunder of hooves and the clatter of sticks resounds across the home paddock of Calrossie Station, 70 kilometres west of Eidsvold, Queensland, as the formidable Hartwig family and team-mates practise under the watchful and admiring eye of their mentor and untiring supporter Charles ‘Chas’ Hartwig and, of course, a gallery of quietly ruminating cattle. The sight and sounds of powerful, athletic thoroughbred horses shoulder to shoulder at full gallop is impressive, more so as their riders twist, turn and jostle to capture an elusive red ball. The Polocrosse World Cup 2007 will be held some 300km to the south in Warwick, Qld, next year, so there is an expectant air to the practice session for a family who will be there fervently supporting the Australian team.
There were three Hartwigs in one of the first polocrosse clubs formed in Queensland, at Eidsvold, around 1961. Since then, Calrossie has been the training ground of the Hartwig clan. So it’s not difficult to see why Chas Hartwig, now in his mid-70s, has been an addict for the past 40-odd years. He has been described as having two great talents: a determined, winning way on the field and an unfailing and infectious sense of humour. “I started playing in 1963 when my wife June bought me my first polocrosse horse ‘Crystal’ and Mum weighed in with a pith helmet and a stick,” he says. “I joined my brother and sisters on the Eidsvold team and it just grew from there.

This story excerpt is from Issue #49

Outback Magazine: Oct/Nov 2006