Beer­sheba an­niver­sary

Euroa Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

MAYGARS Win­ery hosted a din­ner to cel­e­brate 100 years since the fa­mous ‘charge of the light horse’ at Beer­sheba dur­ing the First World War.

Guest speaker, Squadron Leader Sa­man­tha Free­bairn re­ceived a tu­mul­tuous stand­ing ova­tion on the com­ple­tion of her pre­sen­ta­tion at the sold out black tie din­ner.

Guests in­cluded many de­scen­dants of sol­diers at Beer­sheba, such as lo­cal res­i­dent John Heales, whose grand­fa­ther Joseph Con­rick was a for­ward scout at Beer­sheba and served un­der the lead­er­ship of Gen­eral Sir Harry Chau­vel and Gen­eral William Grant.

Chau­vel’s grand­daugh­ter Honor Auchin­leck was present as was Grant’s great nephew.

Other de­scen­dant’s fam­i­lies in­cluded Lt Col May­gar’s grand­niece Jill Miles, Lt Col William Scott’s grand­son David Gam­ble from Alexan­dra, Trooper Al­bert Smith’s grand­daugh­ter and Pvt Al­bert Howlett’s grand­son from Me­tung.

Al­bert Howlett and Les May­gar were both wounded and sub­se­quently died from the shrap­nel wounds from the same air raid at the end of the bat­tle.

Viet­nam Vet­er­ans Anne and John Sier­akowski also trav­elled to the event from Ade­laide.

The guest speaker, Sa­man­tha Free­bairn has a Bach­e­lor of Sci­ence de­gree, Masters of Lead­er­ship, and this year com­pleted the ‘ Global Lead­er­ship and Pub­lic Pol­icy for the 21st Cen­tury’ pro­gram at Har­vard Univer­sity John F. Kennedy School of Gov­ern­ment.

She grew up in Drys­dale, Vic­to­ria, and joined the Air Force in 1996.

“I first met Sam when she came to visit her mother, Pearl who was our head of pro­to­col at the Chair­man’s Chalet at Avalon Air­show,” Jenny Houghton from May­gar’s Hill Win­ery said.

“This young, red head in her flight suit came to see her mum, hav­ing just landed the Her­cules trans­port on the dis­play run­way.”

In 2016, Sa­man­tha was ap­pointed by the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum as a Young Global Leader in their list of most in­flu­en­tial global lead­ers un­der 40 years.

SQNLDR Free­bairn’s se­lec­tion is in recog­ni­tion of her record of pro­fes­sional ac­com­plish­ments, her com­mit­ment to so­ci­ety and her po­ten­tial to con­trib­ute to shap­ing the fu­ture of the world through her lead­er­ship.

The com­mu­nity forms a unique global net­work of peers from di­verse back­grounds and fields, with a highly vis­i­ble op­por­tu­nity to sig­nif­i­cantly im­pact world af­fairs and shape the global agenda.

Now based at Am­ber­ley, Qld, Sam has racked up plenty of hours in the air, — now ranked as one of the most se­nior pi­lots in the RAAF.

She is Cap­tain on C17’s, one of the largest trans­port air­craft in ser­vice and the RAAF’s largest.

She has fl own many com­bat mis­sions in the mid­dle east, how­ever fl ying the fi rst bomb­ing vic­tims home after the Bali bomb­ings stays with her the most vividly.

She is cur­rently train­ing pi­lots on this com­plex and tech­no­log­i­cally su­pe­rior air­craft.

Ms Free­bairn said she sought to en­cour­age more women to join the air force after be­ing the only woman in her grad­u­ate class of 1996.It is work­ing as the num­ber of fe­male pi­lots has dou­bled in the last two years after it re­mained stag­nant for more than 30 years be­fore.

The au­di­ence agreed that if we have to be at war, then we are in su­perbly ca­pa­ble hands.

Gifted in lead­er­ship and fly­ing abil­ity, Sa­man­tha is in­deed mak­ing a dif­fer­ence.

A side note of his­tor­i­cal and per­haps ge­netic in­ter­est, Mary Reibey was Sa­man­tha’s great great great grand­mother and you will find Mary on the $20 note.

Her his­tory re­peats in Sa­man­tha’s life.

RE­MEM­BER­ING THEIR REL­A­TIVES: De­scen­dants of Beer­sheba com­bat­ants An­drew Turner, David Gam­ble, Bob Howlett, Jill Miles, Gill Cameron, Sa­man­tha Free­bairn (speaker,)Stephanie Ryan, John Heal and Honor Auchin­leck.

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