Last Goodbye 

Oil on canvas 

120 x 180cm 


This painting is a tribute to the circumstances of war and the unspoken bond between a soldier and his horse.  

Our war history is full of patriotism, courage and pride. Comradeship between man and beast is in each and every one of us.  

10 Million fighting men died in world war one along with 8 milliohorses donkeys and ponies 

Only one horse returned from the 136,000 Walers that we sent over for use by the Australian Imperial Force. 

Man and animal found an emotional companionship that we as humans crave, drawing strength, love and fierce mateship to continue the fight for peace and freedom of this country. 

How traumatic and heart-wrenching it was for the soldiers leaving their horses behind.  


I don’t think I could stand the thought of my old fancy hack  

Just crawling round old Cairo with a ‘Gypo on his back 

Perhaps some English tourist out in Palestine may find  

My broken hearted Waler with a wooden plough behind 

No I think I’d better shoot him and tell a little lie: 

“He floundered in a wombat hole and the lay down to die.” 

Maybe I’ll get court martialled; but I’m damned if I’m inclined 

To go back to Australia and leave my horse behind. 

By Major Oliver Hogue.