Dictionary of Sydney

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Mr Jack Healy recalls training horses for the army in Liverpool in 1928, interviewed in 1986

Mr Jack Healy was born in 1908. He was interviewed in 1986 for the 'Looking Back at Liverpool: An Oral History of the Liverpool Region 1900 to 1960.' He recalls joining the remount unit [responsible for training horses for the Australian army] at Liverpool in 1928.

INTERVIEWER: When did you join the army?

JACK: 1928.

INTERVIEWER: And what made you decide to join the army?

JACK: Well, I was out of work and a couple of chaps that I knew, as a matter of fact I knew the Commanding Officer too. Then a vacancy came up, chap left, I went down to present myself and went for the medicals and got the job.

INTERVIEWER: Did you view it as a job?

JACK: Oh sure. Money. Yes, money. I think everybody did that.

INTERVIEWER: Was it hard work?

JACK: Oh, yes and no; young horses, handling young horses, driving, riding, all that sort of thing, yes.

INTERVIEWER: You were in the remounts were you?

JACK: That's right. Handling horses, breaking horses, training them for army manoeuvers, military purposes as it may be, staff horses, and ordinary artillery horses.

INTERVIEWER: Whereabouts did they get the horses from?

JACK: Hired them in the country, they were called Murray Walers. And they also bought them for the Indian army. Their horses came from here too. They were a kind of what you'd call a buggy horse really, bigger than a pony, about 16-hand type of thing.

INTERVIEWER: How did they get the horses to Liverpool?

JACK: Train. There used to be a train line went out from here to Holsworthy in those days, used to be the German camp.

INTERVIEWER: Did you know much about horses before you started?

JACK: Well, we always had horses when I was a kid. They were Tuxedo breed, American. We had the fastest horse on Hoxton Park Road.

Contributed By
(Excerpt from interview with Mr Jack Healy from the 'Looking back at Liverpool : an oral history of the Liverpool region 1900-1960' conducted in 1986 by Liverpool City Council, editor and project co-ordinator Catherine Johnson ; researchers Angela Imbrosciano, Verica Miiosavijevic, Kathleen Smith.)