CENTENARY OF ANZAC REFLECTIONS: The Light Horse

A highlight in the Centenary of Anzac ceremonial calendar, the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Beersheba turned the Shrine's focus to the Light Horse in the Middle East, commemorated in a number of ways.

ABOUT THE BATTLE OF BEERSHEBA

In the fading daylight hours of 31 October 1917, the 4th Light Horse Brigade charged the Ottoman fortifications around Beersheba.

Light horsemen generally fought dismounted, contrary to popular belief, using their horses merely as transport to and from the battlefield. At Beersheba, however, the 4th Light Horse Brigade galloped straight at the Turkish trenches and took the enemy by surprise. The Ottoman defence crumbled in the hand-to-hand combat that followed. What was particularly remarkable was that the light horsemen succeeded in the face of technological disadvantage. They were armed only with bayonets and rifles facing an enemy with machine guns protected by trenches and fortifications. Despite this, by nightfall their victory was secured and the town of Beersheba was captured.

One hundred years later, we reflect on the actions of the light horsemen and their horses. As a result of the charge 31 men and at least 70 horses were killed. Their sacrifice led to the eventual capture of Gaza in the following week and left the Ottoman army in full retreat.

PODCAST PLAYLIST

A series of public lectures, talks and events are available to be relived via this specially curated playlist, including the launch event and Curator floor talk of our special Cenetanry of Anzac exhibition, The Light Horse: Australians in the Middle East 1916–18, that was on display within the Galleries of Remembrance from October 2017-October 2018.

Exhibition Launch: The Light Horse

Description: Listen to guest speaker Dr Jean Bou at the exhibition launch event. The exhibition featured works of art by Sidney Nolan, George Lambert and Susan McMinn as well as personal memorabilia from General Sir Harry Chauvel.

Curator Talk: The Light Horse - Neil Sharkey (6 February 2018)

Description: Shrine Curator Neil Sharkey unravels the many myths and legends of the Australian Light Horse in the Middle East.

Public Talk: The Battle of Beersheba - Dr David Holloway OAM (18 October 2017)

Description: Dr David Holloway OAM, historian of the 4th Light Horse, reflects one hundred years later on their legendary attack on Beersheba in October 1917. Discover more about this remarkable regiment—Australia’s only unit to fight on all three fronts during the First World War. 

THE LIGHT HORSE DAY SERVICE: GALLERY

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(Image: Susan Gordon-Brown)

On Tuesday 31 October 2017, a service was held to commemorate the Centenary of the Battle of Beersheba. The Centenary of Anzac service was held on the Shrine forecourt before thousands of Victorian school students and featured a procession of horses and riders in Light Horse uniform. Click to view an image gallery of the event.

SHOP THE LIGHT HORSE

 Shop our exclusive range of memorabilia commemorating our special exhibition. Items feature works of art from the collection by Sidney Nolan and Susan McMinn. Visit the Shop.