New Horse in War exhibition opens at Cobb+Co Museum

18 March 2015

A new exhibition at Cobb+Co Museum is a poignant reminder of First World War sacrifice and mateship, not just between soldiers but between a soldier and his horse.

Cobb+Co Museum Director Deborah Bailey explains that horses played a vital role in moving the entire war effort.

“The achievements of the Light Horse units in the Middle East are legendary, but horses were also used for pulling ambulances, artillery pieces, supply wagons, even the water cart, and the bond between horse and soldier was extremely strong”, Deborah said.

Horse in War focuses on the lives of those who worked with, and risked death alongside the 120,000 horses of the Australian Army during the First World War.

Through photographs, diaries and original objects, the exhibition tells the stories of some of the thousands of skilled horsemen from rural Queensland and across Australia who joined the war effort.

One such story is of Esmond Lecchi, who served throughout the big Light Horse offences of 1917-1918, explains Deborah.

“Esmond Lecchi was also a keen photographer and during his time in Palestine, Syria, Jordan and Egypt, Esmond photographed the day-to-day events of life with the Light Horse, providing a rare insight into life on the ground for the young Australian soldiers”, Deborah said.

“His extraordinary photos came to light through a chance meeting with his daughter Moira Fisher who came to Cobb+Co Museum last year to show her father’s photo album to our Curator,” she said.

The centrepiece of the exhibition is an original and very rare Army General Service Wagon (Mark X), which was sensitively preserved by Cobb+Co Museum staff and volunteers from Solider On, an organisation that strives to empower wounded soldiers by providing them with education and employment opportunities to ensure they can continue to pursue their dreams and overcome the challenges they face.

Deborah Bailey said this kind of community involvement and support is typical of Cobb+Co Museum exhibitions.

“Members of the local community have helped us to find original wood screws for the General Service Wagon preservation work and knitted panels for a 50 metre long timeline within the exhibition”, she said.

In addition to this invaluable assistance from volunteers and the community, the exhibition would not have been possible without the generous support of the Copland Foundation, Soldier On, and the Queensland Government.

Horse in War is on display at Cobb+Co Museum until 5 October 2015. For more information, visit www.cobbandco.qm.qld.gov.au or call 07 4659 4900.

Cobb+Co Museum, part of the Queensland Museum Network, located in Lindsay Street, Toowoomba. The Museum is open daily 10am – 4pm, except Good Friday, Anzac Day and Christmas Day. Thanks to Toowoomba Regional Council, entry is free to all council residents on presentation of proof of address.

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For further information call us on +61 (0) 7 4659 4900 or contact us using our online form.