Nashos (from left) Jeff Wootten, Brian Bertwistle, Tony Hillier and Brian Barker keep wartime traditions alive at the Mudgeeraba Light Horse Museum.
Nashos (from left) Jeff Wootten, Brian Bertwistle, Tony Hillier and Brian Barker keep wartime traditions alive at the Mudgeeraba Light Horse Museum. Yvonne Gardiner

Mudgeeraba Light Horse in demand for group tours

THE volunteers of the Mudgeeraba Light Horse Museum are engaged on an important mission, to make sure our younger generations know of and respect the sacrifices and traditions of those who went to war.

Three groups work together to safeguard the military heritage that lies within the museum, housed in a heritage-listed farmhouse.

The Australian Light Horse Regiment, National Servicemen - so-called Nashos - and museum volunteers keep alive the memory of the Light Horse and armed forces personnel from many wars by hosting visiting groups and by going out to talk at schools.

Brian Bertwhistle, 81, is a Nasho who was called up in the 1950s and served in Korea.

He says the Light Horse in particular are called upon to prepare for and attend commemorative services.

"The Light Horse troop are more a re-enactment group,” Brian said.

"They're in very high demand at parades.

"I've learnt a lot about horses since I've been here.”

The Mudgeeraba Troop actually blends elements of two regiments - the 14th Light Horse Queensland Mounted Infantry (a militia regiment that developed from the Imperial Bushman Detachment 1899-1902 Boer War), and the 14th Australian Light Horse Regiment, Australian Imperial Forces (Australians from the disbanded Imperial Camel Corps who were given horses and were the first of the Australian Light Horse to be issued swords).

On open days, horsemen at the museum demonstrate the skills of the Light Horse, like "tent-pegging”.

Once a way to attack enemy camps, tent-pegging today is a sport and training exercise for riders and horses.

In wartime, horsemen would ride through a camp just before dawn. Using swords and lances, they slashed the ropes that held up the tents to trap the enemy.

Other museum activities popular with families include horseshoe throwing, a talk about war animals such as pigeons, dogs and donkeys; flagraising and the firing of rifles.

Nashos were fit young men, called up to defend Australia between 1951 and 1972.

Nearly 300,000 Nashos served in the army, navy and air force in Australia, New Guinea, Korea, Vietnam and Borneo.

About 3000 schoolchildren who've visited the Light Horse museum in the last few years have learned of their exploits through the various displays, talks and literature.

Committee member Brian Barker, a Nasho who served in Vietnam, has been involved in the school tours at the museum for about three years.

"It's all an important part of our history - we keep it at the forefront of people's memories,” he said.

"We want kids to respect the flag and what these people stood for.

"All the work we've put in, we want to hand that baton on. As we're getting older, we need some younger support.”

Highlights of the tour include a diorama of the famous Light Horse charge at Beersheba, the Vietnam display and Nasho corner, postcards from the front, and the ancestors' board.

Become a "friend” of the museum with a once-only donation of $10 single/couple and $15 for a family.

Museum hours are Wednesday and Sunday, 10am to 2pm, or other times by appointment at 8 Worongary Rd, Mudgeeraba. Visit the website www.mhlmuseum.com.au.


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