Bullock cart

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Not to be confused with Ox-wagon.
A bullock cart in India.
Typical decorated Costa Rican ox cart
Mexican carreta in El Paso, Texas, circa 1885. Photo courtesy SMU.

A bullock cart or ox cart is a two-wheeled or four-wheeled vehicle pulled by oxen (draught cattle). It is a means of transportation used since ancient times in many parts of the world. They are still used today where modern vehicles are too expensive or the infrastructure does not favor them.

Used especially for carrying goods, the bullock cart is pulled by one or several oxen (bullocks). The cart (also known as a jinker) is attached to a bullock team by a special chain attached to yokes, but a rope may also be used for one or two animals. The driver and any other passengers sit on the front of the cart, while load is placed in the back. Traditionally the cargo was usually agrarian goods and lumber.


Main article: Chariot

The invention of the wheel used in transportation most likely took place in Europe. Evidence of wheeled vehicles appears from the mid 4th millennium BC near-simultaneously in the Northern Caucasus (Maykop culture), and in Central Europe. The earliest vehicles may have been ox carts.[1]


A colour postcard printed in England by Raphael Tuck & Sons, and featuring an 'Oilette' image of a bullock team carting a load of wool. The card is titled: An Australian Sheep Station. Carting the sheep
A bullock team at Farrell Flat, South Australia in 1911.

In Australia, bullock carts were referred to as bullock drays and were usually used to carry large loads. Drays were pulled by bullock teams which could consist of 20 or more animals.

Bullock teams were used extensively to transport produce from rural areas to major towns and ports. Because of Australia's size, these journeys often covered large distances and could take many days and even weeks.

Costa Rica[edit]

In Costa Rica, ox carts (carretas in the Spanish language) were an important aspect of the daily life and commerce, especially between 1850 to 1935,[2] developing a unique construction and decoration tradition that is still being developed. Costa Rican parades and traditional celebrations are not complete without a traditional ox cart parade.

In 1988, the traditional ox cart was declared as National Symbol of Work by the Costa Rican government.

In 2005, the "Oxherding and Oxcart Traditions in Costa Rica" were included in UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.


In Indonesia, Bullock Carts are commonly used in the rural parts of the country, where it is used for transporting goods and carriages and also people. But it is mostly common in Indonesia that there are horsecars, rather than bullock carts.


Bullock carts were widely used in Malaysia before the introduction of automobiles, and many are still used today. These included passenger vehicles, now used especially for tourists.[3] Passenger carts are usually equipped with awnings for protection against sun and rain, and are often gaily decorated.[4][5]

Bullock cart in Mysore Zoo, India

See also[edit]