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.