The Australian Light Horse were mounted troops of the Australian Army who served with distinction in World War I. As part of the Amy Museum of South Australia's rolling commemoration of World War 1 events, the role of the Australian Light Horse at the Battle of Beersheba is the subject of its latest exhibition.
Light horsemen from South Australia and other states were active in fighting the Turks in Egypt from 1915, but it was the Battle of Beersheba in October 1917 which became a significant turning point in the conflict. You can find a detailed account of the role of the charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade at Beersheba on this Australian War Memorial page.
See Historical Photos of Australian Light Horse in World War 1
The Our Light Horsemen exhibition at the Army Museum contains a wealth of information about the Australian Light Horse. As you enter the exhibition you're confronted with a full size replica of a mounted Light Horseman (beware hippophobics!), with the main part of the new exhibition on your left.
A small scale reproduction of the Beersheba battlefield is labelled to give a sense of perspective of the Army units involved, while nearby an interpretive screen displays a succession of historical photos of World War 1 Australian Light Horse units, and the areas where they served. Detailed information is clearly posted about the horses and Light Horsemen, who were formed into regiments of around 500 men.
It's not well known that Glenthorne Farm at O'Halloran Hill south of Adelaide was the source of many of the animals used by the South Australian Light Horse. At No. 9 Remount Depot some 17,00 horses were broken in and trained at Glenthorne. The horses were required to be able to carry Light Horsemen, pull field guns and ammunition, and transport stores. You can learn more at Glenthone Open Day which is part of South Australia's History Festival.
I particularly like the way that the Army Museum's Our Lighthorsemen exhibition is presented factually, with historical context. As well as the original photos, there are maps, interpretive signs and other props to help illustrate the story of the Australian Light Horse in World War 1.
After you have seen the Light Horsemen exhibitions, explore a series of displays in the rooms that follow. Discover South Australia's role in the South African or Boer War. See 'tinnies' - badges from World War 1, combat scenes recreated from World War 2 including items from the Cheer Up Hut in Adelaide. Find how thousands of men and women were based at the Wayville Showgrounds in World War 2, and view other displays covering the war in Vietnam and the roles of Fort Glanville and Fort Largs in the defence of South Australia.
Model of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli at the Army Museum of South Australia
The Army Museum of South Australia updates its displays frequently, and even if you have visited before you will find much is new. The Our Lighthorsemen exhibition will only be in place for a few months, so make a point of visiting soon.