20-May-2023 (Bryan Hardy)
20-May-2023 (Bryan Hardy)

Photographs supplied by Bryan Hardy / John Huth

The sculpture commemorates Sandy who was the only one of Australia’s 169,000 war horses to return home from World War One.  

Sandy had been assigned to the commander of the Australian 1st division, the first ashore at Gallipoli. It was the dying wish of General Sir William Bridges, who was shot by a sniper, that his horse be returned to Melbourne at war’s end.

Sandy arrived back in Australia in November 1918 and was turned out to graze at the Remount Depot on the Maribyrnong defence site where horses were broken in and trained for the army in land next to the explosives factory.

He was put down in May 1923 due to blindness and debility and while his head and neck were mounted and became part of the Australian War Memorial’s collection, the rest of Sandy is thought to have been buried at the site in Maribyrnong, Victoria.

Sandy lived in Old Tallangatta (8 kilometres from modern Tallangatta), whose population along with more than 100 buildings were relocated in 1956 so that the town could be deliberately flooded due to the expansion of the Hume Weir.

Fundraising efforts for a statue to commemorate the only Australian horse to return home from World War I remain short of the target, despite the efforts of a group of passionate advocates.
Key points:

  • Fundraisers are working hard to meet a funding shortfall to build a war horse statue
  • Sandy was the only Australian horse to return home from World War One
  • Initial works with the sculptor have started despite funds not fully secured
The planned life-size statue will stand at Tallangatta, north-east Victoria, at a cost of more than $150,000, partly funded by an $80,000 contribution from Towong Shire Council. Just over $50,000 has been raised by volunteers to meet the shortfall.

Ross Smith is part of a local fundraising committee, and said it was an expensive project, but worth it. "He should have been recognised years ago ... and that hasn't happened, so we have jumped on the bandwagon and [are] going to make that happen ... that's our big endeavour."

The fundraising goal to close the $70 000 financial gap hasn't been reached despite the statue having already been ordered and discussions with the sculptor continuing. But the fundraising team are determined to secure the funds.

"We have been busting our guts with raffles and sausage sizzles and concerts doing all the fundraising, and we have been lucky with the Tallangatta community; we have got a lot of support from there," Mr Smith said He said support had also come in from across Australia for the project.

The statue of Sandy will be based on the horse's head and neck, mounted in a display cabinet as part of the Australian War Memorial collection, and a sole photograph of the horse in Egypt.

Sandy was one of 136 000 Australian horses sent abroad in World War I, donated from the O'Donnell family at Old Tallangatta. He was the only horse to return home to Australian soil. Sandy belonged to Major General Sir William Bridges, who was killed at Gallipoli and made a dying wish for Sandy to be taken back to Australia. The horse was then moved to Egypt and France. In October 1917, the Minister for Defence, Senator George Pearce, called for Sandy to be brought home. He was boarded on the freighter Booral in September 1918, sailing from Liverpool and arriving in Melbourne in November. Sandy was turned out to graze at the Central Remount Depot at Maribyrnong and saw out the rest of his days at the Remount Depot.

His increasing blindness and debility prompted the decision to have him put down in May 1923.
ABC Goulburn MurrayBy staff reporters 1



Address:Towong Street, Near Visitor Information Centre, Tallangatta, 3700
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -36.216731
Long: 147.177701
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:Culture
Artist:Brett Garling


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 20th May, 2023
Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au