TWO major projects will result in groups of Indigenous Australians travelling to Israel in October to participate in the re-enactment of the Australian Light Horse Charge that resulted in the capture of Beersheva from the Turks 100 years ago.
The Rona Tranby Trust’s Australian Light Horse Centenary Project will record the stories of Indigenous Light Horsemen who served in the Middle East during World War I, as told by their descendants. A group of these descendants will then saddle up in Beersheva on October 31 to participate in the re-enactment.
Jennifer Symonds, the Rona Tranby Trust representative on the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (JBOD), said at the board’s May plenum “when we launched the project last year we didn’t realise just how huge it was going to be”.
“The oral history part is so important to both our [the Australian Aboriginal and Jewish] peoples.
“The stories emerging from all over Australia that I have read so far are absolutely amazing.”
So far $90,000 of a target of $100,000 for the project has been raised through donations to the Trust. Symonds said this was a great result, and further funds raised will enable a documentary by SBS to be produced.
The project has been endorsed by the federal Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Dan Tehan.
Another project called From the Bush to Beersheva, led by Chris Barr, is raising funds to take a group of young Aboriginal people from the outback town of Ntaria (Hermannsburg) to participate in the Charge re-enactment in Beersheva.
The group has already done a mini re-enactment of the famous charge, across 125km of desert near Alice Springs.