Artist Barry Henderson (left) and Austin Short with the painting of the Light Horse at Semakh. Photo: Blainey Woodham / Daily News
Artist Barry Henderson (left) and Austin Short with the painting of the Light Horse at Semakh. Photo: Blainey Woodham / Daily News Blainey Woodham

Putting paint to canvas to remember Light Horse legacy

AUSTIN Short's hunt to uncover his grandfather's legacy with the Australian Light Horse regiment has come to a close thanks to Banora Point artist Barry Henderson.

Now Mr Short's grandfather's story, and that of the 11th Light Horse Regiment, will become a defining part of Australian war history.

Mr Henderson was hired by Mr Short, from Brisbane, to paint the First World War attack on the town of Semakh, near the Sea of Galilee in modern day Israel, by the 11th Regiment.

Kilcoy-based grazier Howard Hedley Taylor, Mr Short's grandfather, was killed during the attack on September 25, 1918.

"My grandfather was in that charge and he got killed, so last year I went over with a group of Light Horsemen on a memorial trip right throughout the Middle East," Mr Short said.

"The soldiers came out of the dark hills at 5am to attack the station with the Turks waiting for them, but in the dark the men went around and took the town and station.

"The site of the battle had become derelict. Now it's been refurbished by the locals and the Australian Government to renew the station as a memorial museum site and education centre."

When he returned home Australian Light Horse Association member Mr Short devised a plan to cement his grandfather, and the regiment, in history.

"I came home and I said 'there's nothing at Semakh', so I wanted to get a painting done for the museum and I thought 'who do know?' and then I thought of Barry, who used to do cartoons as a kid," he said.

"So I contacted Barry and I sent through some literature and photographs and he came up with this beautiful piece of work.

"When I first saw the painting I felt a little emotional, because finally we had something depicting the scene."

Mr Short, 83, and Mr Henderson, 71, met when they were members of North Kirra Surf Life Saving Club in their younger years.

Mr Henderson said he was initially overwhelmed by the task, which took him 11 months to complete.

"I knew it would be a big undertaking and I knew that I had to be historically correct because I knew members of the (Light Horse) association would notice the details," he said.

"The pressure was definitely on."

Both men say the painting holds great significance to them.

"I certainly have a lot of pride, but more emotion, it's been like the end of an odyssey because I was on the search for my grandfather's history for years," Mr Short said.

"When I went there I was standing where this painting is based and there I was standing on the very site where my grandfather was buried."

"It's like finally closing the chapter on his story."



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