Thanks to Dr Judy Salecich for this contribution, article and photos.

Capella’s Light Horse Monument

This unusual but striking World War I monument, the “Light Horse Artwork”, is located in Capella’s Parklands, just off the Gregory Highway, in the town centre. You can’t miss it. The monument consists of a central larger than life light horseman sculpture and two large side screen dioramas. The monument lies at one end of a tree-lined pathway that extends the full length of the manicured Parklands. It’s a most impressive sight.

Capella is a small town in the Central Highlands Region of Central Queensland. By car it’s 324 km northwest of Rockhampton via the Capricorn and Gregory Highways. Surveyed in 1883, Capella’s about 50 km north of Emerald and 50 km south of Clermont. At the 2016 Australian census, Capella and district had a population of 1,010.

The "Light Horse Artwork" was officially opened by the Mayor of the Central Highlands Regional Council, Councillor Peter Maguire, on 12 September 2009. It was made locally, by Gerada Engineering of Capella.

So, why erect an Australian Light Horse monument at CAPELLA? What is the connection?

Capella lays claim to the origin of the emu plume worn in the slouch hat of the Australian light horsemen. An inscription on a plaque at the monument gives this explanation about Capella and the origin of the emu plume:

“The Great Shearers’ Strike started north of Capella on 5 January 1891, at the Fairbairn owned “Logan Downs” roll call. While no conclusive evidence exists on where the emu plumes tradition began, Sir George Fairbairn’s family history anecdote is that a detachment of Mounted Infantry troopers guarding a gang of “non-union” shearers at Peak Downs rode down to Capella Creek one day when things were quiet and shot an emu. Each took a handful of feathers and placed them in the band of his hat. From then on it became tradition for troopers to wear the emu plume.”

 

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