1913 – 1946: No. 9 Remount Depot Glenthorne
In 1913, the Commonwealth of Australia compulsorily acquired Glenthorne Farm to establish the No. 9 Remount Depot. War in Europe was on the horizon when Glenthorne was transformed into one of many remount depots created across the British Commonwealth, including England, India and Canada. The primary role of the depot was to acquire, break-in and supply horses required by the army.
During World War 1, horses were the main means of transportation. Heavier horses were used to pull heavy military equipment, supply wagons and ambulance wagons. The lighter horses, which Glenthorne was tasked with supplying, were used by the Australian Light Horse Brigades. Light horse mostly used horses for transportation, usually fighting dismounted. During World War 1, Australia shipped over 120,000 horses overseas. It is estimated that approximately 17,000 horses left South Australia between 1911 and 1930.
The first commanding officer of the No. 9 Remount Depot was Captain Norman Campbell (left), who lived in Glenthorne House with his wife Dora and young family. Enlisted soldiers were also housed in the three-storied mansion, and extra houses dotted the nearby Main South Road and Majors Road for those with families. Horse-drawn carriages were used to carry children to Brighton Primary School and the Officers’ wives to the shops along Brighton Road.
During the remount era, new buildings were added to the property, including a blacksmiths’ shop, a veterinary clinic, farriers’ quarters, and additional stables. Perhaps the most enduring additions were the two munitions stores, built in 1914, which remain highly visible today. The two stores were built around 1km from the main cluster of buildings and featured an earth mound separating the buildings meant to protect one store should the other detonate.
Animals in World War 1: “It’s estimated more than 136 thousand Australian horses were sent to World War 1. The horses, along with donkeys and camels, helped carry heavy loads and soldiers.” via BTN.