Emu plumes still worn with pride

Department of Defence

Trooper Kane Boland, who grew up in Queanbeyan, NSW, enlisted in the Royal Australian Armoured Corps in 2015 to give his life greater purpose.

On April 25, he represents the nation at the Anzac Day dawn service in Gallipoli as part of Australia’s Federation Guard.

“I joined the Army because I wanted a career in a role that brought me purpose and to do something that many people around me hadn’t experienced,” Trooper Boland said.

“Now, I feel honored to be selected to go to Gallipoli, to pay my respects where the Anzac legend began.”

Serving with the 1st Armoured Regiment in Adelaide and the 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment (Queensland Mounted Infantry), Trooper Boland said he had taken time to learn more about the history of his corps and the Gallipoli campaign.

“We visited the Australian War Memorial in the lead-up to Anzac Day to educate ourselves on the First World War and to pay our respects to those who came before us,” he said.

“I’ve learned a lot more about the history of my corps, specifically the light horse and how they fought dismounted alongside the infantry in Gallipoli, and on horseback in Egypt and Palestine throughout the war.”

While the modern trooper crews an armoured personnel carrier or tank rather than being mounted on horseback, their connection and respect to those who came before remains strong.

‘Wearing my emu plumes during the dawn service at Anzac Cove, representing the light horse, [was] a humbling experience and something I’ll never forget.’

“Looking at the armoured vehicles we use today has made me feel proud to have served in my role as a personnel carrier and tank crewmen,” Trooper Boland said.

Although the tradition of horseback might be long gone, the coveted armoured corps’ emu plumes remain a distinguishing feature of their uniform.

Started by the Queensland Mounted Infantry decades before the war, the light horsemen continued to don emu plumes in their slouch hats as an unofficial uniform throughout Word War 1.

More than a century later, the distinguished plumes are now formally recognised as part of the Armoured Corps’ uniform and worn with pride.

“Wearing my emu plumes during the dawn service at Anzac Cove, representing the light horse, [was] a humbling experience and something I’ll never forget,” Trooper Boland said.

Standing guard at Anzac Cove as the bugle plays to honour thousands who made the ultimate sacrifice and forged the spirit of a nation is a daunting responsibility for any serving member.

Trooper Boland said it was an honour and a career highlight to be given this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“The honour of being a part of this service is not lost on me. My parents know how much it means to me to be given this opportunity and it’s definitely a career highlight,” he said.

/Public Release. View in full here.