There were no horses in Australia until they were taken there by early settlers in the late 18th century. The early horses were probably Barbs and Arabs. Until 1971 , the Australian Stock Horse was known as the Waler, after the horse that had developed in New South Wales.
ENVIRONMENT: Open habitat including grassland, moor and heath
USES: Riding, sports, and ranch work
HEIGHT: 15.0 to 16.3 hh (60-67 in)
COLORS: Black, brown, chesnut, dun, gray, and bay
Once more regular contact was made with Europe, cargo ships would have brought more horses, often Thoroughbreds. Horse racing became popular very early in Australia, so increasingly Thoroughbreds were imported. In more recent years, outcrossing to Quarter Horses, ponies, and heavy draft horses such as the Percheron and the Clydesdale have been made in order to develop the breed’s strength.
The mixed bloodlines of this breed mean there is no standardized type, but typically the Australian Stock Horse will show quality combined with strength, and should always have particularly good limbs and hooves, and powerful hindquarters.
The Waler had been developed mainly as a tough ranch horse, but those same qualities of strength and reliability saw large numbers used as cavalry horses.
The modern-day Australian Stock Horse still carries plenty of Thoroughbred qualities, and also often shows the additional power, particularly in the hindquarters, of the American Quarter Horse.
Debby Sly: Encyclopedia of Horses. Bath, UK 2008, p. 188