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War Horses Memorial
War Horses Memorial

Photographs supplied by Kent Watson

The tribute to the War Horses was originally unveiled in 1926 on St Kilda Road but was moved in 1987 to its present position near the Shrine of Remembrance. The granite horse trough was erected by the Purple Cross Society, an organisation of women animal lovers who concerned themselves with the welfare of horses during World War One, using funds raised by Boer War Light Horsemen.

958000 horses and mules were killed in World War One. 169000 left Australia and never returned either killed in action or in died in quarantine.

One of the most famous was a horse called `David` which served in the 107 Battery Regiment 1899-1902 during the Boer War, and then as a gun wheel in France. He was awarded many Army medals and honours including the Queen`s Medal, the King`s Medal and Star with bar.

Unveiled by Sir John Monash during animal week and under the auspices of the Society for the Protection of Animals. Every year wreaths are laid around the memorial by organisations.

He gains no crosses as a soldier may, No medals for the many risks he runs; He only, in his patient, puzzled way, Sticks to his guns! This inscription, entitled "A Tribute To Our War Horses," is engraved on a drinking trough made from grey granite, which has been installed at the intersection of St. Kilda-road and Domain-road by the members of the Purple Cross Service of Victoria. There was a large attendance yesterday at 3 p.m., when the trough was unveiled by Sir J. Monash, who was introduced by Lady Hennessy, president of the society. "The work of the Purple Cross Service was of very direct and very great benefit to the men in the field," said Sir J. Monash. who referred to the late Lady Monash's close association with the movement. "The veterinary equipment provided officially was very meagre," he continued, "and the Purple Cross Service came along and assisted in the work. It meant a great deal to the troops when they saw how their horses and mules were being looked after. It did much to uphold their morale. Good horses and mules were difficult to get, and if they were not cared for they would have been hard to replace."  In tendering sincere thanks to the workers for the Purple Cross Service, the speaker said it would be invidious to mention names, with the exception of Miss Maude Harvie, who had been associated with the movement from its earliest days, and Mrs. S. Sabine. The work of the service was not over. It would continue in the interests of the horse — man's best friend. He trusted that it would be many years before they were able to get along without the help of the noble horse. Mr K. Hughes accepted the trough on behalf of the City Council, and said that the council would keep it in order in the years to come. 
Age (Melbourne), 11 May 1926.


Address:Birdwood Avenue, near Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne, 3000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.82957
Long: 144.974054
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Culture


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Monday 10th May, 1926
Front Inscription

Purple Cross Service
Of Victoria

He Gains No Crosses As A Soldier May, 
No Medals For The Many Risks He Runs, 
He Only In His Puzzled, Patient Way
"Sticks To His Guns


Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au