Yarraman’s horsemen ride into history—Wild Horse FM remembers
The dramatic role of Australian war horses and the men who rode them in the First World War has been told many times. The farming district around Yarraman has a unique connection with the First World War and the Light Horsemen especially.
On Anzac Day 2015, Yarraman’s community radio station, Wild Horse FM, honoured these men in an outside broadcast from the Tangeringie State School near Maidenwell. The star feature of the radio broadcast was an hour-long documentary, produced by volunteers from station. The documentary, based on interviews and research, tells the stories of the soldiers from the district who went away to war and didn’t return.
“Many of the young men around here were farmers and horsemen. The word ‘yarraman’ is an Aboriginal word meaning horse or animal with big eyes. When these men joined up for the war, incredibly they took their horses with them down the old Brisbane Valley railway line. It was like conscription for horses,” Melanie Doheny, a volunteer at Wild Horse FM and the documentary’s producer explains.
Like many rural communities, Yarraman felt the loss of its fit young men keenly—and it was the women of the families left behind who stepped up and ran the farms and businesses.
Descendants of many of these original families still live in the district. Melanie says it’s important not only to remember the soldiers and their families, but also to use the history of the area to connect with new residents.
“We need to tell the stories of how the town became what it is today. If we can document as much as we can it will also help with tourism and with future-proofing our knowledge of the region.”