This bronze statue depicts an Australian First World War trooper saying farewell to his Waler horse in the deserts of the Middle East. The statue was sculpted by Tanya Bartlett of Newcastle and depicts a female horse. There are also several plaques accompanying the memorial.
The memorial was unveiled on 29 October 2005, being the nearest Saturday to the 88th anniversary of the famous charge of Beersheba on 31 Octber 1917. The unveiling was performed by well-known and respected retired Army Major General WB Digger James AC, MBE, MC. Forty-seven Light Horse re-enactment riders and the 12/16 Hunter River Lancers marched down the main street and then provided a guard of honour at the memorial site.
The Memorial to the Australian Light Horse. The Tamworth Waler Memorial.
Unveiled by Major General WB Digger James AC MBE MC On October 29, 2005. Constructed at a cost of $150,000, funded by grants from Federal and State Governments, Tamworth Regional Council, Joblink Plus and donations from business houses, property owners, RSL Sub-Branches and the community and was designed and created by Sculptor Tanya Bartlett from Newcastle.
Memorial committee: Chairman and originator David Evans, Ted Carter FCA, Norman Caslick, Toots Gilder, Bruce Hyman, Robert Hyman, Ken Lyttle OAM, Bruce Treloar AM, Don Willis PSM, Gordon Gaffney OAM (Dec), Bob Gunning (Dec).
This Memorial is given to the Tamworth Regional Council for safe keeping and to the people of the district in memory of our Australian Troopers and their great horses.
About this Memorial.
The sculptor has depicted an Australian Trooper saying farewell to his Waler Horse in the deserts of the Middle East at the end of World War One. The horses were either killed in action, sold to other armies or shot by a Trooper’s mate rather than leave their old companion behind to become beasts of burden.
The Trooper’s uniform and the military saddlery on the horse has been based on original WWI equipment. The actual equipment used belonged to the late Bob Gunning. A march lasting several days would see both horse and trooper carry equipment, rations and ammunition weighing approx. 130 kilos. Lest we forget.
The Tamworth Waler Memorial Committee thanks the many organizations and individuals who generously donated to the appeal to make this lasting Memorial possible. The committee acknowledges the contribution made by many RSL Sub-branches and the 12th/16th Hunter River Lancers. [Joblink Plus logo]
The Tamworth Waler Memorial Committee acknowledges the generous contribution made by the Board and Staff of Joblink Plus in helping fund the construction of this Memorial.
The horses were known as Walers.
Only one came back.
In memory of the Waler. Between 1861 and 1931 approximately 500,000 horses were exported from Australia to the Indian Army, the Boer War and Egypt with The Australian Light Horse as remounts. Of all these horses only one returned, a gelding Sandy belonging to Major General Sir William Bridges.
They were mainly bred from Blood, draught and pony breeds. These were the forebears of the Australian Stockhorse and were purchased from properties throughout Australia and in the early stages were mostly purchased from NSW which gave them the name of Walers, coined by the English.
The most famous of all feats of the Waler Horses at war was the Light Horse charge on Beersheba in 1917. The horses were without water for 48 hours in the hot Sinai Desert and then undertook a 4km cavalry charge across the burning plains to take Beersheba and its wells. Since this Light Horse Memorial was dedicated on October 29, 2005, there have been a few changes. Committee members Robert Hyman and Ken Lyttle OAM have died. Chairman and originator now reads David Evans OAM.