• Dust on the Leather

    3 November, 2017

    This heavily and beautifully crafted bridle was worn one hundred years ago, by a horse named Brownie, in the First World War. Brownie was one of the 800 horses in the Australian Light Horse Regiment, and travelled to join the war from Nyngan with his rider Malachi Woodlock. Also in the photo are Malachi’s spurs which have Egyptian coins as the rollers. Malachi is the great grandfather of one of our Year 11 students, Ruby Woodlock.

    As part of the 14th Light Horse Regiment, Malachi, rode Brownie in the battle of Megiddo in September 1990. The British infantry opened a gap in the Turkish front, which allowed the Australian mounted soldiers to destroy the Turkish communication links. As a result, the Turks retreated into Syria and were harried by the Australian mounted troops, covering 650 kilometres in ten days. The horses had to cover not only their rider, but also his swag, equipment, guns and ammunition. They covered great distances over sand, rocky desert and the scrub of Palestine.

    While waiting to embark for home after the end of the war, Malachi and the men of the 14th Regiment were called back to Suez to quell the Egyptian revolt of March 1919.

    Due to quarantine conditions and cost, the soldiers were told their loyal and dearly loved horses could not return home. Many of the soldiers chose to shoot them, rather than allow them to be passed into the brutal hands of brutal foreigners.

    Malachi returned to his family property at Nyngan in September 1919 and soon after, married his sweetheart Alice.

    We will remember these great endeavours, those who accomplished them, and those who valiantly waited at home for their return.

    Ruby carries a special connection to All Saints’ College, as she is the fourth generation of her family to attend our school. Her great grandfather, Thomas Murchison attended All Saints’ between 1903-1907 when it was the ‘school on the hill.’

    Father Paul Woodhart


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