The National Boer War Memorial Design was unveilled by the National Patron General David Hurley AC, DSC, Chief of Defence Force in Canberra on 1 March 2012
The site for the National Boer War Memorial on ANZAC Parade Canberra was dedicated on 31 May 2008. Please view a slide show and video of the dedication when you visit the Boer War Memorial web site.
From 10th October 1899 to the end of May 1902 a bitter conflict raged across the South African veldt between Britain and her Empire and the two largely self-governing Boer Republics of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. The six Australian States (colonies) were quick to make troops available to Britain when a Boer ultimatum to the British expired and Boer commandos streamed across the borders into the British colonies of the Cape of Good Hope and Natal. The first formed unit of troops from Australia, a squadron of the New South Wales Lancers landed in Capetown on 2 November 1899, less than one month after hostilities commenced.
Up until 1899 for Australians there had been quite fierce fighting in some areas as European settlement expanded across the lands of the Aboriginal peoples, and two minor rebellions on the Australian mainland quickly put down by British garrison troops. Australians had also fought in the Maori wars in New Zealand and, in 1885, New South Wales sent a 700 strong contingent of infantry and artillery, with a small medical detachment, to the Sudan in North Africa. The Boer War was the first full commitment of troops by all the Australian Colonies to a foreign war and with the formation of the Australian Commonwealth on 1st January 1901 it became our country’s first military involvement as a Nation.
Australia’s contribution was significant; we suffered casualty numbers which have only been exceeded by those of World Wars 1 and 2. In all, over 16,000 troops were engaged in the Australian contingents and another 7,000 Australians fought in other colonial and irregular units. Possibly 1,000 Australians lost their lives on service in South Africa during the Boer War.
For detailed information on how to donate to the memorial building fund, registering as a descendant or for more general information regarding this first Australian conflict as a Nation and Commonwealth please visit www.bwm.org.au