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UNDER the usual steamy Australia Day sun, hundreds of residents from around the Banana Shire gathered at the local recreation ground for the annual Banana Bash.

“We’re just here to bring people together and to bring the shire together, so that we can all have a fun day and catch up with everybody,” said organiser Debbie McCann.

As well as the formalities (an official Mayor’s welcome, citizenship ceremony and Australia Day awards presentation) there was a full day of family fun activities and displays.

A fleet of flashy cars impressed the crowd, courtesy of the Callide Valley Auto Club. There were jumping castles and waterslides for the kids, and a social cricket tourament.

But stealing the show was the Mount Morgan Light Horse Memorial Troop – a group of immaculately dressed military history enthusiasts who saddled up for demonstrations honouring the 5th Light Horse Regiment from World War I.

Wayne Brown, Paul Johnstone, Maree Skillington and Nikki Olzard from the Mount Morgan Light Horse Memorial Troup.

Dressed in replica uniforms worn by the mounted Anzacs, riders galloped past the crowd with a lance, reaching down and skewering patches of cardboard from the ground.

“We demonstrate skills from the day – the actual training exercises that the regiment would go through,” said troup leader Wayne Brown.

“In the war, the light horsemen would gallop through enemy camps and pull out the tent pegs. It’s all about hand eye co-ordination and trusting your horse.

“All of us have got some family tie to World War I, and we want to perpetuate the memory.”

Later in the day the troupe thrilled the crowd with a weapons demonstration, firing blank .303 rounds.

Every year for the past 11 years, the towns which make up the Banana Shire Council area have hosted the Australia Day celebration on a rotating basis.

Council spokesperson Venkat Peteti said this year’s event was another success – enjoyed by all who attended.

“We partner with a lot of community groups and clubs, and it’s an opportunity for them to have a bit of a fundraiser as well.

“It’s great that these events get so much local support.”

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