Murray Bridge aged care facility will honour ‘bastard’ horse
Romani, a new aged-care facility in Murray Bridge, will honour the animals and men who fought in the Australian Light Horse Brigade, including a horse called “Bill the Bastard”.
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A new aged care facility in Murray Bridge, will honour the animals and men who fought in the Australian Light Horse Brigade, including a horse called “Bill the Bastard”.
The first residents have already moved into the Romani Residential Aged Care Facility on Tumbella Drive.
The Governor of South Australia, Frances Adamson, will give it an official opening on February 24 – the National Day for War Animals.
The facility itself is named after the Battle of Romani, which the 1st Light Horse Brigade fought in 1916, during World War I.
Many of the men from Murray Bridge and the surrounding areas who enlisted were excellent horsemen and served in the Light Horse.
Award-winning South Australian artist Ty Manning is creating a sculpture of Bill the Bastard to be installed at the facility.
Bill the Bastard was, in fact, a hero of WWI – in typically Australian style, the nickname was a term of affection.
He was a huge and powerful horse but cranky by nature.
Although almost no-one could ride Bill, Major Michael Shanahan befriended him with understanding – and liquorice all sorts.
The liquorice worked: Bill allowed only Shanahan to ride him.
In the Battle of Romani, Bill carried four stranded Australian soldiers and Major Shanahan – at the same time – through soft sand to safety.
Major Shanahan’s grandson Terry Shanahan – himself a veteran who served in the Royal Australian Air Force – will attend the opening of the aged care facility.
Romani’s respect for the Light Horse Brigade will shine through even in the facility’s buildings.
Romani’s three residential wings are each named after a prominent aspect of Light Horse history.
The entrance to the facility has been designed to reflect Mount Royston, the large sand dune at Romani; and the bricks in its entrance represent the colours of the sand dunes.
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