Discover the Light Horse at an exhibition at the Army Museum South Queensland

Army Museum South Queensland volunteers, Joy Wilson, Karen Corkery and
Pixie Annat enjoying the Launch of the Light Horse Exhibition in WW1 at
Victoria Barracks, Brisbane.
Army Museum South Queensland volunteers, Joy Wilson, Karen Corkery and Pixie Annat enjoying the Launch of the Light Horse Exhibition in WW1 at Victoria Barracks, Brisbane.

AN ICONIC part of Australia’s military history, the Light Horse, is now being honoured in unique exhibition.

The Army Museum South Queensland’s Light Horse in World War I exhibition will give Queensland residents the chance to explore the battles and history of Australia’s mounted troops in the Middle East and on the Western Front during World War I, including Romani, Gaza, Beersheba, Semakh and the Jordan Valley, and the Messines Ridge, in the Champagne Region and the Hindenburg line.

Captain Adele Catts, museum manager and exhibition curator, said the exhibition is the chance to see unique, original items not previously seen.

A life-size camp scene, including a fibreglass horse and soldiers kitted out in uniforms, sets the scene as to how the Light Horse Brigade lived while aboard.

Among the static display cases visitors will see a 1917 heliograph and telescope set, original maps, a Turkish fl ag captured from the town of Beersheba, Light Horse artwork and sculptures, as well as extremely rare groups of medals.

Among the rare medals is an Order of the Nile.

“This is very unique and considered to be a drawcard for the exhibition,” Captain Catts said.

Housed in the 1864 Officers’ Mess at Victoria Barracks, it is a stunning backdrop to discover a piece of Australian history in the lead up to the 100th anniversary of the Australian Light Horse charge at Beersheba.

The historic charge of the 4th Light Horse Bridge took place on October 31, 1917; Beersheba was anchored in the right end of the defensive line that stretched all the way from Gaza.

After failed attempts to attack Gaza - a crucial city for both the British and the Ottomans in World War I, it was decided to outflank it by turning the Turkish line around Beersheba.

Today Beersheba, is a city of more than 200,000 people, but a century ago it was a heavily fortified town.

Captain Adele Catts, manager of Army Museum South Queensland and student
intern Robyn Cosgrove at the Launch of Light Horse in World War 1.

Captain Adele Catts, manager of Army Museum South Queensland and student intern Robyn Cosgrove at the Launch of Light Horse in World War 1.

The attack launched at dawn, but by late afternoon the British had made little headway.

The order for the 4th Light Horse Brigade was made and, mounted with bayonets in hand, they lead a successful charge into the town, breaking the Ottoman line.

The charge lead to the way for the outflanking of the Gaza-Beersheba Line.

By November 6, Turkish forces abandoned Gaza and began to withdraw from Palestine.

A visit to the Light Horse in World War I exhibition is by escort only and includes a tour of the historical Victoria Barracks precinct on Petrie Terrace, Brisbane.

Each tour includes a formal Devonshire Tea served in the original Officers’ Mess, a presentation, souvenir booklet and a group photo.

Tours run on Wednesday from 9.30am to 12.30pm. Tickets are $15.

Exhibition only tours are $5 and run Wednesday from 11am to 12.30pm.

Tour bookings can be made at armymuseumsouthqueensland.com.au or by contacting Bev Smith 0429 954 663 or by email at bsmithys@bigpond.net.au.