Technology and artistry combine to take the Australian Outback Spectacular 2 to new heights.
The Light Horsemen charge around the arena, rifles slung around their shoulders, shouting as their horses kick up clouds of dust. In the background, on a giant screen, three lines of Light Horsemen thunder across the Palestine desert brandishing bayonets and screaming like banshees.
‘Heroes of the Light Horse’ is stirring sequence in the new Australian Outback Spectacular 2. It’s a marriage of celluloid and live action; a fusion of high-definition projection technology and outback skills.
Australian director and producer Simon Wincer – best known for ‘The Man from Snowy River’, ‘The Lighthorsemen’, ‘Phar Lap’ and ‘Free Willy’ – brings the new scenes in Australian Outback Spectacular 2 to life through a creative combination of movie clips and live action in the arena.
‘Heroes of the Light Horse’ is one of Australia’s least known but most inspirational historic events. It’s the stuff legends are made of. On 31st October 1917, 800 Australian Light Horsemen attempted a seemingly suicidal mission, a cavalry charge across five kilometres of open desert in Beersheeba, against 4,400 Turkish infantry armed with artillery.
The Turkish soldiers fired upon the charging Light Horsemen but the Light Horsemen galloped into the firing squads and dismounted behind the Turkish line. The demoralised Turks quickly surrendered. Incredibly, only 36 out of the 800 Light Horsemen were shot.
Even more extraordinary is that the Light Horse infantry consisted predominantly of inexperienced young men from the outback who volunteered along with their horses to join the Australian Mounted Infantry.
The trademark of the Light Horse Brigade was the emu plumes worn in their slouch hats, a tradition that began with the Queensland Mounted Infantry in the 1890s.
Mounted troopers used to test their skills by racing after wild emus, catching the emus while galloping and pulling out a couple of the terrified bird’s chest feathers to tuck into their hat bands. Emu feathers caught on to become the symbol of all Australian Light Horsemen.
The Australian Outback Spectacular 2 ‘Heroes of the Light Horse’ is an extravaganza which links this legendary historic event with the grandeur of the Australian outback through spectacular visual effects and stunts.
The action switches from the Palestinian desert to the bush where passages from ‘The Man from Snowy River’ are recited against a realistic-looking filmed backdrop.
Scenes move from humorous sketches that draw plenty of laughs from the audience to spectacular stunt riding where skilful riders hang upside down on their horses with their legs straight up in the air.
The show is action-packed and features wild horses, stampeding cattle, farm bikes, stunt riding and a mustering scene using a Robinson helicopter. There’s plenty of clapping, hollering and feet-stamping from the crowd.
Like the first show, the three-course meal served to the audience is timed to fit in with minimum disruption to the story line. And the audience is involved in the rivalry between the stockmen and women from rival stations Warrego Station and Bunya Downs.
Those who saw the first show will love the new scenes such as the introduction of a replica 1800s Cobb & Co. coach drawn by five Percheron horses, the Great Australian Pig Race and extreme Roman Riding sequence where four horses and two stockmen jump through fire.
New film footage includes live recordings of popular country singer Lee Kernaghan, as well as scenes from The Man from Snowy River and Waltzing Matilda.
The performers are the real deal. Most were recruited from outback stations and love demonstrating their talents for horse riding, mustering and station work under the spotlight of the big ring.
All in all, it’s an enjoyable way to experience a taste of the outback while learning about a significant period of Australian history.
Did you know?
1. Over 300 state-of-the-art lights are used during each show.
2. Chefs in four kitchens cook over 1000 meals on the night of each show.
3. The arena surface is the same size as an Olympic swimming pool.
4. 11 types of timber were used in the construction of the arena including Douglas fir, spotted gum and Tasmanian oak. The solid doors inside the arena are made from silky oak.
5. 34 Australian stock horses, five Percheron horses, two camels, 50 sheep, three sheep dogs, four pigs, 10 Longhorn and 20 Santa Gertrudis cattle are used in the show on a rotating roster.
Australian Outback Spectacular costs $99.95 (adult), $65.95 (child 4-13 years), $89.95 (pensioner). Prices include the show, three-course Aussie BBQ dinner, complimentary drinks and stockman’s hat. The show is on nightly from Tuesdays to Sundays. Additional 12.30pm matinee shows are scheduled from time to time. Doors open at 6.15pm; pre-show commences at 7pm for a 7.30pm start. To make a booking call your nearest travel agent or Warner Village Theme Parks on 133 386.
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