The banks of the Somme River could be seen from Gundagai at the weekend, despite the almost 17,000 kilometre distance.
The town’s 7th Light Horse Troop transported the showgrounds to the final year of the Great War on the Western Front for Saturday’s re-enactment.
“We started building it all a week ago,” said troop member Kerrie Stewart.
“We moved about 3,000 tonnes of dirt to make the trenches.”
The bleak weekend weather provided a perfect backdrop to the Gundagai Remembers event.
“Saturday really wasn’t the best weather but that recreated the terrible conditions of the battlefront,” said Ms Stewart.
“You could see how dirty it would feel to climb in and out [of the trenches], especially under heavy fire. Living history like that, it was better than opening any book.”
It commemorated the Battle of Mont Saint Quentin of August 31 to September 4, 1918.
Fought between the Allies and Germany, Australia’s involvement in the battle was described by British General Henry Rawlson as the greatest military achievement in the war.
But it was also in memory of troop president and Ms Stewart’s partner, Luke Dowell, who died in a car accident in September 2017.
“This was his dream, and I think we’ve done him proud,” said Ms Stewart.
“He was passionate about keeping history alive, about honouring the legacy as our diggers pass away. Otherwise the memory will fade with them.”
The four committee members in the town have been planning the event for a year.
They were joined by 40 re-enactors trucked in from all over the country and abroad.
“They travelled from the state’s north, there were some from Queensland, Victoria, there was even a Kiwi representative from one of the light horse troops in New Zealand,” said Ms Stewart.
“Some of the other re-enactor troops said ours was the best in Australia.”
Also in attendance was the nation’s Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove.
“That he stayed to watch Saturday’s re-enactment was unbelievably amazing, such a high honour for our small town.”