A monument, located in Chauvel St, Tabulam, commemorates the formation of the Upper Clarence Light Horse unit by Charles Chauvel of Tabulam Station.
This plaque was unveiled on the 5th. October, 1985 by Mrs. Elyne Mitchell daughter of General Sir Harry Chauvel.
The memorial features a base-relief of a Light Horseman, the work of Father John Casey of Mallanganee. It shows the names of those who enlisted from Tabulam and district for the 2 World Wars. Picnic tables and a flag pole are located in the area also.
Tabulam`s involvement with the Light Horse goes back to 1885 when the Chauvel`s owned Tabulam Station. General Sir Harry Chauvel who was born at Tabulam led the Australian and New Zealand mounted troops at The Battle of Beersheba. Sir Harry’s father C.H.E Chauvel raised the 1st Light Horse Troop- Upper Clarence in 1885. The old Captain, Charles Chauvel, had been an Indian Army man and, with the Russian scare in mind, he offered to raise a body of fit and able men to serve, if necessary, on the North West Frontier. The result was that in October 1885, the two troops of the Upper Clarence Light Horse were formed, No 1 (Tabulam) and No 2 (The Border).
On New Year`s Day 1886, 129 men were sworn in and there was a banquet and great rejoicing in McLean`s Tabulam Hotel that night. The first official duty of the new troops was to form a guard of honour at the opening of the Tenterfield Railway in February 1886.
The Boer War (1889-1902) was the first overseas service for the Light Horse. Tabulam’s own Harry Chauvel was there. He served first as an officer with the 1st QMI contingent and again as the CO of the 7th Battalion Australian Commonwealth Horse. Christopher Mealing, Billy Mealing and lou Hunter, at least three Tabulam men, enlisted in the Boer War. They enlisted as State troops but returned as “Commonwealth Military Forces”, Federation having been achieved during their absence.
The Light Horse next served on Gallipoli as infantry and then fighting in Palestine during the desert campaign of 1916-17, under the command of the now General Harry Chauvel. Alf Ravenscroft, whose father, also Alf, was an original member of the Upper Clarence Light Horse, was General Chauvel’s standard bearer during this campaign. Names like Magdhaba, Rafah, Gaza, Romani, El Arish and the famous charge of Beersheba, are a proud part of our history on account of the heroism of our Light Horsemen.
During the post-war years, there was less activity on the part of Citizen’s Military Forces. Perhaps old soldiers were sick of war and talk of war, after all, had they not fought a “war to end all wars”? – or so they thought. By the 1930’s, however, there was a fresh stirring of interest, perhaps fostered by the ominous unrest in Europe.
The Tabulam troop was reformed in January 1931 and became part of the 15th Light Horse, Northern Rivers Lancers. The first parade was held on the same ground where Captain Charles Chauvel first enrolled the men of the Upper Clarence Light Horse, forty six years before. The then Lieutenant Harry Chauvel was now Hon. Colonel of the Regiment.