Five things about goats

by Dr Andi
Publish date
6 March 2012
Comments (8)

Like many organisations, MV has an internal website where staff can post information and notices about various things. Recently I saw this wonderful posting on the museum's intranet:

Anyone want a free goat?

I need to find a good home for my pet goat Sebastian. He is a 7yr old desexed male Toggenburg with horns.

He loves to go jogging, nibble on the neighbours' roses, sleep all day & then bleat & bash things in the evening. He'd make a great pet. Not suitable for small children.

Sebastian the goat Hi, I am Sebastian the Goat, and I have my own Facebook page.
Image: Shane Hughes
Source: Shane Hughes

I would love to go jogging with Sebastian and watch his evening Hulk moments, but alas, my flat's balcony is too small for even my pot plants. But it did get me thinking that goats are amazing animals. Here are five reasons why.


1. You can eat them, drink them, wear them... and wash, and knit with them.

Evidence suggests goats were domesticated in Eastern Turkey around 10,000 years ago. They were kept for their meat, their hide, milk and wool. Think luxurious cashmere, smooth goat's cheese, and gentle goat's milk soap.

I found some stylish kid (young goat) leather shoes in the MV collection. No doubt the collection managers handle them with kid gloves: figuratively and perhaps literally speaking.

blue women's shoes Pair of shoes, blue kid leather with Louis heel, circa 1905-1910. (SH 880814.)
Source: Museum Victoria


2. You can take a goat ride or use a goat freight service.

Historical images from the MV collection show harnessed goats at work and at play.

lantern slide of man and goats Lantern slide labelled ‘Old Ned and goats, hands blown off’. (MM 034986)
Source: Museum Victoria

boys with goat and cart Glass negative, circa 1900.
Image: A.J. Campbell
Source: Museum Victoria


3. Mythology combines goats with humans to become devilishly naughty characters.

Mythological depictions of the half-human, half-goat are often naughty types. Among the Greek gods was Pan the faun who was into partying with nymphs. Puck was mischievous fairy from English folklore. On the other hand, Satyrs, which are human-like beasts with goat bits, were often evil creatures.

This faun from the collection is a horse brass , which is a decoration, souvenir or amulet hung on a horse's harness. This faun appears to be seated in a lotus position!

Horse brass with faun motif Horse Brass - Faun, 1825-1939 (ST 034497)
Source: Museum Victoria


4. Goats are great for playtime.

People often kept goats to keep the grass down and for a bit of milk. That's why Mitzy the goat (pictured below) lived at Janet's place in Springvale in 1957.

Girl playing with a goat in a field, Girl Playing with Goat, in Field, Springvale South, 1957MM 110927).
Source: Museum Victoria

I remember as a kid I used to love to play jacks; mine were coloured plastic. I remember being quite grossed out when I learnt that real jacks were actually knuckle bones from a sheep or a goat.

goat knuckle bones Knuckle bones found during the Casselden Place archaeological dig, circa 1880 (LL 32184 2)
Source: Museum Victoria


5. Goats are not only sure-footed rock climbers but you can take them jogging.

billy goat flick book Flick book with a climbing billy goat by 'Cinematograph Living Pictures', circa 1920 (HT 25043.
Source: Museum Victoria

Flick books were a popular optical toys created in the 19th century. See our goat-inspired flick book in action in this video:


Sebastian the Goat's present owner Shane says Sebastian enjoys a bit of a jog and meeting new people. We wish him all the best in becoming an 'old goat' in his new home.

Cheers and bleats, Dr Andi

Comments (8)

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Nicole 6 March, 2012 16:37
Friend requested! I did dearly want a goat as we can't have a cat and our grass gets long. But I too might be moving into an apartment. Great post!
Rowena Flynn 6 March, 2012 17:24
Hello, I personally know Shanes goat and he does like meeting people. He is a good goat for any one who is interested in acquiring him.
Bev Lewis 9 March, 2012 10:01
I wish I had a yard big enough for Sebastian. Where can I buy shoes like those blue ones - fab! Thanks Dr Andi. Yr blogs are funny.
Georgina Kerr 12 March, 2012 21:43
Our family had Sedric the goat when the children were young. He had many adventures and made a great pet, until he ate all the trees to goat height and had to be relocated to a farm. Fun blog Andi!
Patrice 11 April, 2012 12:55
Dr Andi - We have just discovered your blog Thanks to listening to you on JonFaine. Thanks so much we love it & your enthusiasm is contagious! Iam sure will have loads of fun learning with your blog .
Mick Holland 12 April, 2012 02:35
I stumbled across this blog while researching my old school. I am always amazed how, when browsing, one thing leads to another and was very surprised when I saw the photograph of the horse brass. To me it looks very much as though the character is a depiction of the 'Lincoln Imp', a medieval carving in Lincoln Cathedral, England. A quick search using your favourite search provider will bring up many photographs and some of the folklore that surrounds this little chap.
Anita 24 July, 2012 17:45
Me and my dog were out walking and Jethro(dog) had to my knowledge never met a goat before, I was a tad wary and Jethro was taking no notice...I scratched the goat who was tethered and he seemed friendly so I called Jethro over to meet the goat hoping for a friendly interspecies nose nuzzle, sadly for poor Jethro (tricolour Kelpie) received a swift and resounding head butt with audibly crack sound. He let out a yelp and for the briefest second I thought he might give the goat a nip but he wisely retreated....
warren pitt 15 December, 2013 11:54
If sebastian is still available, would love to take him
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