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"At a mile distant their thousand hooves were stuttering thunder, coming at a rate that frightened a man - they were an awe inspiring sight, galloping through the red haze - knee to knee and horse to horse - the dying sun glinting on bayonet points..." Trooper Ion Idriess

The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre aims to present an accurate history of early Australian military developments from 1899 to 1920.

WARNING: This site contains: names, information and images of deceased people; and, language which may be considered inappropriate today.

Contact: Australian Light Horse Studies Centre



Education Centre


The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre, in conjunction with the various Education authorities in Australia, has embarked upon producing a program of instruction targeted initially towards the Later Adolescence band of scholars, characteristically those who are studying in Year 9 and 10 within Australia or of the 14-15 year cohort. Each lesson will be a self contained module. Some will be more difficult than others and graded accordingly.

Each lesson is divided into six elements:

  1. Framework of the lesson within the curriculum requirements;
  2. A lesson plan;
  3. Teaching aids;
  4. A student guide;
  5. Age appropriate resources for student access; and,
  6. Reliable third party resources.

The lessons may be treated as one or expanded to a few lessons, depending upon the depth wished to be pursued. Students are able to follow up at their own pace should they wish to do so outside of any directed academic activity.

For the members of the worldwide audience who are interested in understanding the basic elements of the Australian Light Horse movement, the forms a simple gateway to that process and thus this section should not only be treated as exclusive to Australian school students but as part of a resource for the wider community.


Foundation Principles




1. The “White Guard” guerrilla force defending Australia

The origins of various Light Horse formations differ in each state. By the 1880’s most states had Volunteer Light Horse units operating although their efficiency was dubious and viewed by many as a social club. The Boer War and Federation focused the attention of Australians on the method of defending a lightly populated continent. The Light Horse was seen as pivotal in this defence scheme.

Lesson Plan


Research Material


Advanced Material


2. August 1914

The drought, water shortages, falling land productivity, high unemployment, government infighting and international tensions filled the anxieties of Australians in 1914. All these conditions seem very contemporary to any Australian. For the public, the Great War was something “over there”, like all wars, and had little impact on the society. Give a few speeches, sign up a twenty thousand volunteers and by the time they are ready to fight the war would be over. It was from this

Lesson Plan


Research Material


Advanced Material


3. Recruiting and training

Induction in the Light Horse was a complex process requiring a certain level of skills prior to the acceptance of the recruit. Once in the Light Horse, there were fundamental activities that needed to be learnt. This included basic infantry training, equitation, cavalry training and maintaining the horse. This lesson looks at all these aspects of Light Horse life in the context of the training camps located near the state capital cities.

Lesson Plan


Research Material


Advanced Material


4. Embarkation

Moving thousands of men and horses from Australia to Egypt was a massive undertaking. Ship life was tough and monotonous where training was undertaken. In the meantime, the horses needed to be maintained as they travelled with the men. On board, men were sea sick and horses suffered from pneumonia while each horse needed to be exercised and its stall cleaned twice a day. It was a tough ordeal which lasted for about four weeks. After landing in Egypt, the horses had to be gradually acclimatised to the conditions and food. This lesson attempts to capture that experience through the voices of the soldiers.

Lesson Plan


Research Material


Advanced Material


5. Gallipoli

From May to December 1915, the Light Horse was at Gallipoli as dismounted infantry. They took part in many of the main actions. The ill fated charge of the 3rd Light Horse Brigade at the Nek passed into legend and the basis of the movie Gallipoli. Other names also claimed the Light Horse such as Pope’s Hill, Quinn’s Post and Hill 60. During the evacuation, the men from the Light Horse played cricket in an effort to fool the Turks watching them. The Light Horse suffered terrible casualties at Gallipoli. The survivors learned much and went on to defeat their enemy some three years later.

Lesson Plan


Research Material


Advanced Material


6. Sinai

It was in the Sinai that the Australian Light Horse acquired its true role. After the Jifjafa Raid, the British Commander in Egypt begged Kitchener to leave him the Light Horse despite all other units going to France. Romani, Bir el Abd, Bir el Mazar, El Arish, El Magdhaba and El Rafa were growing experiences which taught the Light Horse to fight as an independent formation. It was the year where the Australian Light Horse became amongst the best mounted infantry at that time.

Lesson Plan


Research Material


Advanced Material


7. Beersheba

After ten months of frustration, the Light Horse was unleashed at Beersheba. In cooperation with the British infantry, the Light Horse captured Beersheba after a memorable charge which was immortalised in the movie The Lighthorsemen. Beersheba is considered to be the pinnacle achievement of the Light Horse. Through the use of contemporary witnesses, students are encouraged to examine the story in detail.

Lesson Plan


Research Material


Advanced Material


8. Life in Australia during the Great War

The Light Horse was able to perform the daring deeds in the Sinai and Palestine comfortable in the knowledge that their kin folk were cared for in Australia. However, all the plans to look after the families in Australia often went astray. Laws that were implemented with an eye to protection, such as rent control and debt recovery laws, often caused the servicemen and their families, great misery. Then there were the men who were unable to serve for one reason or another. The problems of supporting the men at the front lines split the Australian community through two referenda. Key to understanding the strength of the Light Horse requires an understanding of the support structure which is examined by this lesson.

Lesson Plan


Research Material


Advanced Material


9. Keep the home fires burning.

Letters were an important part of maintaining soldier morale. In an age of almost universal Australian literacy letter writing was the main means of economical personal contact. The letters written by the light horsemen form part of Australian history as it affected the family. By use of many unpublished and published letters, the fears and loves of the men at the front comes through. In the end, it gives a positive link to the past as the letter authors become humanised rather than a statistic.

Lesson Plan

Lesson 9 Keep the Home Fires Burning, Lesson Plan

Student Material

Keep the Home Fires Burning, Part 9 Student Outline


Research Material

Family Relationship Chart

The Army Post Office delivering the mail

Letters from 1914 to 1918

Light Horsemen who enlisted in 1914 and served over 5 years  Letters from 1914 to 1918

Advanced Material

Aid to reading service files

Index to Common B103 Terms

Light Horse History


Map of Cairo and Allied Camp locations




Entertainment for the troops - the movies


The History of the Composite Australian Light Horse Regiment



10. German Anzacs

People of German descent were devastated by the outbreak of war. Most were loyal subjects of Australia. Many men of German origin served in the AIF. Despite this loyalty, the xenophobia displayed in Australia towards Germans was insidious and often counter productive. Town names of German origin were changed. People of German origin were fired from their jobs. States wanted to disenfranchise anyone of German origin. Concentration camps were constructed to house people of German origin. Despite all of this going on in the background, the German Anzacs served their country with distinction and often wining high rank with one commanding all the Australian forces in France during 1918. This hidden life of German Light Horsemen comes to life through newspaper articles and service records.

Lesson Plan


Research Material


Advanced Material


11. Aboriginal Light Horsemen

Indigenous Australians have always been part of the Australian Story from the inception of European colonisation. This was recognised until Federation in 1901 when Aboriginals were virtually stripped of their citizenship by the Constitution, a situation that remained till 1967. Despite that, Aboriginals played a minor but significant role in the subsequent life of the nation. During the Great War, despite prejudice, many Aboriginal men enlisted in the AIF. They faced the same dangers as everyone else, won medals for bravery and some paid the ultimate price with their lives. In this lesson students explore the history of Aboriginal participation in the Australian Light Horse during the Great War; identify issues of specific Aboriginal concerns; research and produce a military biography; develop conclusions based upon the available information; and deliver findings of the study.

Lesson Plan

Lesson 11 Aboriginal Light Horsemen, Lesson Plan

Student Material

Aboriginal Light Horsemen, Part 11, Students outline

Research Material

2422 Pte William Bert Brown, 11th LHR, Lesson 11 Resource

2423 Pte Frederick Arthur Burnett, 11th LHR, Lesson 11 Resource

2424 Pte Edward Collins, 11th LHR, Lesson 11 Resource

2459 Pte Fred Collins, 11th LHR, Lesson 11 Resource

2425 Pte Jack Costello, 11th LHR, Lesson 11 Resource

2426 Pte Harry Doyle, 11th LHR, Lesson 11 Resource

2428 Pte Frank Fisher, 11th LHR, Lesson 11 Resource

2427 Pte Joe Fitzroy, 11th LHR, Lesson 11 Resource

2462 Pte Rupert Franklin Gore Gallaway, 11th LHR, Lesson 11 Resource

2429 Pte John Geary, 11th LHR, Lesson 11 Resource

2431 Pte Jack Kearns, 11th LHR, Lesson 11 Resource

2432 Pte John McKenzie Laurie, 11th LHR, Lesson 11 Resource

2433 Pte James Lingwoodock, 11th LHR, Lesson 11 Resource

2434 Pte Leonard Lynch, 11th LHR, Lesson 11 Resource

2438 Pte James McBride, 11th LHR, Lesson 11 Resource

2437 Pte David Molloy, 11th LHR, Lesson 11 Resource

2435 Pte Frank Morris, 11th LHR, Lesson 11 Resource

2453 Pte Martin Mulrooney, 11th LHR, Lesson 11 Resource

2436 Pte Harry Murray, 11th LHR, Lesson 11 Resource

2439 Pte William Nicholld, 11th LHR, Lesson 11 Resource

2440 Pte Jack Oliffe, 11th LHR, Lesson 11 Resource

2443 Pte Charlie Parkes, 11th LHR, Lesson 11 Resource

2441 Pte Jack Pollard, 11th LHR, Lesson 11 Resource

2445 Pte Edward Smith, 11th LHR, Lesson 11 Resource

2447 Pte Joe White, 11th LHR, Lesson 11 Resource

2448 Pte Leslie Thomas Wogas, 11th LHR, Lesson 11 Resource

Advanced Material

Teaching aids:

Matrix of common service data to assist in generating discussion.

Student Aids:

Index to Common B103 Terms

Pip, Squeak and Wilfred - the Trio Medals

General History:

Reveille Articles on Aboriginals in the AIF

11th LHR History:

11th Light Horse War Diary Index for 1918 - 1919, Lesson 11 Resource.

11th LHR, AIF account about the 2nd Es Salt Raid - March to May 1918, Chapter XVI

11th LHR, AIF account about the Jordan Valley – May to August 1918, Chapter XVII

Additional Biographies:

Pte Tom Cooper

2919 Pte Alfred John Henry Lovett

2430 Pte John Johnston, 11th LHR

2460 Pte John Hall, 11th LHR, Lesson 11 Resource


12. Myths and Legends

During the course of the early Light Horse history, many legends have grown. Five legends are examined: all Light Horsemen wore the emu plume; most Light Horsemen were farmers; Beersheba as the last great cavalry charge; Lawrence of Arabia was the first to enter Damascus; and, the Light Horsemen shot their horses in 1919.

Lesson Plan


Research Material


Advanced Material




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The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre is a not for profit and non profit group whose sole aim is to write the early history of the Australian Light Horse from 1900 - 1920. It is privately funded and the information is provided by the individuals within the group and while permission for the use of the material has been given for this site for these items by various donors, the residual and actual copyright for these items, should there be any, resides exclusively with the donors. The information on this site is freely available for private research use only and if used as such, should be appropriately acknowledged. To assist in this process, each item has a citation attached at the bottom for referencing purposes. Please Note: No express or implied permission is given for commercial use of the information contained within this site.



















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