The Boer War Day commemorates the first war in which Australia fought as a nation. In 1899 NSW troops were the first to join in this war followed by all of the other colonies and after Federation in 1901 Australian units took part. The Boer War was also the first war in which Australians fought alongside New Zealanders.
The 31st May is the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging that ended the South African War in 1902. Boer War Day itself is held on the Sunday before 31st May to enable working people to attend.
Some cities and towns may choose celebrate Boer War Day on another day near 31st May to suit their circumstances.
Click on the map below to find out the details in your location. If your town has a yellow tag, an activity is planned. If you are planning an activity and it is not yet on the list, get your posters here and email us with the details so they can be published.
A Boer War Day service was held at the Adelaide Boer War Memorial at 11:00 am on Sunday 29 May 2011, moving to the Torrens Training depot thereafter.
The City of Albury RSL sub-Branch held a memorial service on 29 May 2011.
The Blayney Shire held it's very first Boer War Day on Sunday the 29 May at 11am at Blayney.
There will be a short service held at the Boer War Memorial situated next to the RSL Hall in Church Streeet. The service will be conducted by Mrs Gwenda Stanbridge, she is the local Uniting Church minister and is also the President of the Blayney Family History Group.
Afterwards the RSL Hall will be open for inspection for any interested visitors. The Blayney Family History Group will have a static display on the day of some of its townsfolk who served in the Boer War.
In Bungendore a Boer War Veterans Memorial Plaque Dedication was held at the War Memorial commencing at 1100 on Sunday 29 May To perpetuate the Memory of Soldiers of Bungendore and District who served in the Boer War 1899-1902 and document the historical record for future generations.
CLICK HERE to download the text of the speech given by Peter Burness at the dedication.
Some photos by Sandra Young
Brisbane held its Boer War Day ceremony on Tuesday 31st May at 1000hrs in ANZAC Square, Brisbane CBD. 2/14 LH (QMI) have been asked to assist with a catafalque guard and Air Commodore Peter Growder (Retired) is the principal speaker; (Air Commodore Growder is the Vice-President of the RUSIQ and the Chairman of the Queensland RSL State Branch Tribunal).
A replica banner was presented by the Lady Mayoress to the 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment [QMI] representitive Major Phil Lilliebridge. A re enactment of a presentation that happened on the 25 October 1899 to Lieutenant Colonel Percy Ricardo CO of the 1st Contingent by the then Lady Mayoress Mrs Seal.
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The ACT Committee of the National Boer War Memorial Association (NBWM) commemorated the anniversary of the signing of the Peace treaty at Vereeniging in South Africa on 31 May 1902 by an informal wreath laying ceremony at the future site for the NBWM on ANZAC Parade, Canberra at 1230h on Tuesday 31 May 2011. The wreath was laid by Colonel John Jackson RFD (Retd), Chairperson of the ACT Committee for " The Battle of Australia" in conjunction with Master Oscar McIntosh, a descendant of an Australian veteran and Master Fraser Collard, a descendant of New Zealand veteran. This was to represent the spirit of ANZAC.
On the afternoon of Sunday 26 June 2011, the ACT Committee of the National Boer War Memorial Association and the Chief Minister of the ACT conducted a formal ceremony to plant trees of a South African species (Widdringtonia cedarbergensis - Clanwilliam cedar) at a designated Boer War Grove at the National Arboretum. This was an event where trees were planted by the principal guests Ms Katy Gallagher MLA, Chief Minister of the ACT, Mr Mauritz Lindeque, Political Counsellor and Deputy Head of Mission at the South African High Commission and Rear Admiral Allan du Toit, AM, RAN representing the CDF and the military advisors from Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Senior ADF officers, federal and local government representatives, and service organisation representatives including Rear Admiral Ken Doolan AO RAN (Rtd), National President of the RSL, Colonel John Haynes OAM for the Royal Australian Armoured Corps Association, and Lieutenant Colonel John Howells RFD for the Royal New South Wales Lancers Association, and descendants of those who fought and in some cases made the ultimate sacrifice in the conflict also participated.
It was a truly moving ceremony, with younger descendants really appreciating the chance to be involved in the tree planting. It was a credit to the organiser, Nigel Webster, president of the ACT Committee of the National Boer War Memorial Association and National Arboretum staff.
Video of the tree planting ceremony at the National Arboretum 26 June 2011.
On the evening of Friday 23 September 2011, the ACT NBWM Committee hosted a Boer War Commerative Dinner at University House at the Australian National University. It was a great evening of poetry, stories, songs and conviviality.
Enthusiasts, Historians and descendants of Boer War veterans gathered for a very successful ‘Story Time Dinner’ to recount family stories, poems and songs about the Boer War.
Thirty two sat down for the three course dinner, with wine and port, held in the Great Hall of University House in Canberra on the 22nd September 2011. The dinner followed the format of a military dinner. The guests gathered in the ante-room before being piped into dinner by Geoff See of the Canberra City Pipe Band. Colonel John Haynes OAM (Retd), the Chairman of the National Boer War Memorial Association and his wife Gwen led the guests into Dinner to the strains of the pipes.
After the Entree, Major Rob Morrison, the MC, started the stories by reciting some prophetic lines from Banjo Patterson’s poem “Our Own Flag” written in 1900.
Peter Edgar then spoke about his new biography, "Sir William Glasgow: soldier, senator and diplomat". This covered Sir William Glasgow’s service in the Queensland Mounted Infantry (QMI) during the Boer War.
Following the main course, Betsy Boundy (daughter of SGT Henry Clifton Prosser, 4th South Australian Imperial Bushman’s Contingent) sang her family’s version of a song popular during the Boer War called “The Baby’s Name”. The following words are taken directly from her handwritten notes of the tune she sang as a very young girl.
Jean Macaulay followed by reciting a poem written to celebrate her grandfather’s return from the war with the 2nd New South Wales Mounted Rifles.
Trevor Bail, Col Joe Johnson CSC (Retd) and Russell Middleton also entertained the guests with their various accounts of their relative’s service in South Africa.
Congratulations are due to the ACT National Boer War Memorial committee for organising the event, especially Kathy Wearn who arranged the menu and was the key liaison with the staff of the University House.
On the 29 May at 10:00 hrs, the Clarence Town ANZAC committee held a commemorative Service for those Australians who served during the Boer War from 1899 to 1902. Three local boys were part of that war, they were: Private Alexander William Eagleton KIA, Trooper Vernon George Anderson, Trooper George William Murphy.
The Service was held at the Boer war memorial gates at Clarence Town football oval. This memorial was erected by the Family of Private Alexander William Eagleton many years ago. This is the second year we have held our Service and numbers jumped by two thirds so hopefully attendance will grow every year. One attendee, Commodore Nick Helyer who is the Chief Executive Officer of AVCAT, drove 2 hours from Sydney as they don’t have a Boer War Memorial in his area.
Wreaths were laid by Col Medcalf for the Clarence Town ANZAC Committee, Tom Bannister on behalf of Dungog and district RSL sub-branch, Commodore Nick Helyer in memory of Brigadier Pompey Elliott and private wreaths were also laid.
This memorial is one of three in Clarence Town commemorating all of the conflicts in which Australians have served. The annual ANZAC day Dawn March moves past all of the memorials with due recognition given to each.
Di Bennett OAM
Again this year the RSL Gilgandra Sub Branch conducted a memorial service at the Gilgandra Cenotaph
Our ceremony started at 11.30am at Gundagai's Boer War Memorial at the Court House in the main street of Gundagai (Sheridan Street). It was a simple service, no morning tea afterwards. We advertised locally in our papers and got the word out to local families.
The first Sunday in June (Sunday 5 June 2011) saw the annual Boer War Commemorative Day to be attended by the best crowd yet in its nine year old history. It was a fine day, but blustery. Nonetheless, it was judged the most successful held at the impressive Boer War Memorial, Hobart Domain. Prior to proceedings the Clarence City Band played Edwardian airs and at 12 noon volunteers took their places which included the Tasmanian Militaria Collectors in their Tasmanian Boer War uniforms; mounted troopers from the Tasmanian Light Horse and the cadet catafalque Party. Mr Tony Scott was MC for the service and there was an occasion where wreaths were laid, including ones from the various southern Tasmanian Councils. A lone piper accompanied the wreath laying. Mr Reg Watson, organiser of the event, gave the address, followed by scriptural readings from Mr Chad Sutton. The Tasmanian Militaira Collectors fired a salute followed by a minute's silence. The ceremony concluded with the singing of the National Anthem. The Clarence City Band then played further airs. Mr Watson made the announcement that next year, there will be an unveiling of a plaque to the Tasmanian nurses who went to the war in South Africa and in particular, Nurse Lizzie Orr. There was good radio and television coverage.
The Kalgoorlie RSL Sub Branch Committee held a Boer War Memorial Service at Kalgoorlie War Memorial on Sunday 29 May 2011.
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Sunday 12 June 2011 Mr Watson went to the northern city of Launceston where he conducted the fifth annual Boer War Commemorative Day at the Boer War Memorial, City Park. The weather was magnificent. The Memorial is situated in a reasonably tight corner; nonetheless, the Launceston City RSL Band was on hand to play Edwardian airs prior to the ceremony, which commenced at 12 noon, with the catafalque cadets taking their positions. There was also a wreath laying ceremony accompanied by two lone pipers. A scriptural reading was given by Mr Gary Fitzallen, whose ancestor lost his life during the War. Mr Watson gave the address which was followed by a minute's silence. After the ceremony the Launceston City RSL Band played the National Anthem. The event was well covered by radio, television and the press.
Maitland RSL sub-Branch 2011 Boer War Service was held as follows:
The service lasted about 30 minutes there will then be a 30 minute morning tea break after which those attending will proceed to the Sandakan Memorial for a service with the Malaya Borneo Association
The 2011 Boer War Day Commemoration Service at the Melbourne Shrine of Remembrance was a most memorable occasion and resoundingly justified the many months of planning, effort and expenditure which went into it. An estimated 700 attended (200 more than last year) and this time the weather was kind to us.
At 12 noon the white riderless horse, with boots reversed in the saddle, was led up from the 5th Victorian Mounted Rifles Memorial in the parkland to the north of the Shrine forecourt and took its place at the head of the march in front of a dozen light horsemen from the Creswick Light Horse.
The Victoria Police Pipe Band formed up behind the mounted troopers creating an impressive lead party for the marchers who followed behind the Boer War banners including distinguished guests, descendants of Boer War Veterans, a solid representation of Scouts and Guides and members of the public On arrival at the Eternal Flame the various elements moved to their positions for the Service.
A most interesting Commemorative Address was given by Colonel Mike Annett, CEO of the RSL in Victoria. The theme for 2011 was the Wilmansrust disaster which befell the 5th Victorian Mounted Rifles on the night of 12 June 1901 and Colonel Annett was able to link it all with Australian soldiers serving our country in various theatres overseas today.
The Honour Roll of the 18 Australians killed at Wilmansrust was solemnly read out by Tony Charlton to a background of ‘Highland Cathedral’ played by the pipe band. The reading of the Honour Roll included the age and the hometown of all these casualties and reminded us of the sometimes forgotten fact that these young soldiers were very much part of our local community and were mostly cut down in their 20’s. They paid a huge price serving our country.
Many wreaths were laid at the Eternal Flame and included those by the Victorian Government’s Veterans Council, the Federal Department of Veteran’s Affairs, the City of Melbourne with Councillor Shanahan representing the Lord Mayor, the Royal United Services Institute, Scouting and Guiding leaders and others. Amongst the distinguished guests were many senior Army officers including three Major Generals and two Brigadiers. Senior Scout and Guide officials and Civic leaders were also well represented.
Mrs Mary Sadler, 103 year old daughter of a Boer War veteran made it to the service but, due to a recent fall, was unable to march as she did last year. We won’t be in the least surprised to see her marching next year.
At the completion of the service the Victorian Committee of the National Boer War Memorial Association put on coffee and biscuits for everyone who attended.
The great success of this event was due in no small part to the financial help received from the Victorian Veteran’s Council and the Department of Veterans Affairs which does demonstrate the sacrifices of the soldiers of our first big war as a Nation and their descendants are not forgotten. We must now ensure that the promised National Boer War Memorial in Anzac Parade, Canberra, is not forgotten.
Order of Service
This year the RSL Lyndhurst Sub Branch conducted a march in Millthorpe to the Cenotaph.
Cadets from Moorebank travelled to Millthorpe to take part.
The Canobolas Pipe Band led the 35-strong platoon watched by children from the Millthorpe Public School and a number of service personnel in the crowd.
A National Boer War Day Ceremony was organised by the Molong RSL Sub-Branch on Sunday, 29 May, 2011. Peter Cameron, whose portrait was the first painted for the Molong Portrait Gallery, came from Euchareena and also served in World War 1.
At Mosman the rain forced, for part of the ceremony, those who could fit to huddle under a 3 metre square tarp with the overflow outside with brollies up.
In all about 40 attended and the Mayor gave a good speech as did Brigadier Jack Byrnes and Colonel Tony Larnach-Jones. Keith Smith laid a wreath on behalf of the National Boer War Memorial Association. Paul Lenehan, Gail Hennessey, Bill Molloy and Ian Guild of the National Boer War Memorial Association also attended. It was fairly quick because of the rain but it was a moving experience and we are certain Mosman will continue the observance in future years.
Nowra Boer War service took place Sunday, May 29 from 4 pm at Boer War Memorial, Junction Street, Nowra NSW.
A brief service was held at 11:00 hrs in Oatley Memorial Park including the laying of a wreath.
To commemorate the patriotism of the contingent from the Orange district in the South African War 1898 - 1902 a service took place Sunday, May 29 from 11:00 hrs at the Orange South African War Memorial, Robertson Park, Orange NSW.
A highly successful exhibition and service to commemorate those who served in the Boer War was held at the NSW Lancers Memorial Museum, Parramatta. The exhibition will be open every Sunday until the end of June 2011.
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The Perth Boer War Day memorial service was held in Kings Park at 11:00 AM on Sunday 29 May 2011.
The Boer War memorial is officially called the South African War Memorial. This memorial was so named by HRH The Duke of Cornwall and York when he laid Foundation stone on 22 July 1901. HRH subsequently ascended to the throne as King George V.
It is located in Kings Park near Fraser Avenue entrance to Kings Park.
Descendants of Boer War veterans and the families of fallen soldiers were invited to attend as well as the general public. The President of the Military History Society of Western Australia Group Captain Dr G M (Mike) Galvin (Rtd) was MC. The 10th Light Horse Regiment provided a catafalque party.
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ONLY a handful of people took time out to respect lives lost in the Anglo-Boer War last year. On Sunday that number more than doubled when 25 people attended a memorial service at the Boer War Memorial in Burdekin Park. From 1899 to 1902, the Singleton local government area had a population of approximately 2,500 citizens. The Singleton district responded to the call to Colonial Imperial Arms with 75 men volunteering to serve in the Anglo-Boer War.
Three Singleton men died while serving in active service abroad in South Africa. In addition to Trooper Herbert Waddell killed in action, two other young Singleton soldiers died of illness. They were Sergeant George Rogerson and Lieutenant Graham Treatt. Sixteen thousand one hundred and seventy five men and 16,314 horses left Australia in the various contingents to serve in South Africa. Burdekin Park has a memorial that recognises Trooper Waddell but the RSL is currently in the process of accurately listing all the men involved in the conflict.
A list is now on display at the memorial and residents are asked to check its accuracy. Sunday’s service was attended by representatives from Singleton School of Infantry, including its commanding officer LTCOL Andrew Lowe. Nigel Cox once again was master-of-ceremonies and Singleton High was represented by Conrad Fuller and Ebony Levick. A wreath laying ceremony was held during the 30 minute service.
In conjunction with the annual National Boer War Day commemorations on Sunday 29 May, we conducted a special Service at the Memorial at St Marys RSL, Cnr Hall St and Mamre Rd, St Marys NSW.
Commencing at 11.00am, and on this occasion, with special involvement from Year 10 students from Colyton High School Trade School, the Service comemorated the events of 1899 -1902 in South Africa – the first conflict to involve our Nation – a conflict which provided the origins of Australia’s military culture and military history, where around 20,000 Australian men and women volunteered and around 1,000 Australians lost their lives to battle or disease.
All in the community were invited to attend and participate in this commemoration. Relatives of those who took part in the Boer War were especially welcome.
The Members of the New South Wales Committee of the National Boer War Memorial Association, extended all descendants, relatives and friends an invitation to attend the Boer War Day Commemoration Service to be held in Hyde Park South on Sunday, 29 May, 2011 commencing at 11.00 am. 306 responded.
Her Excellency the Governor and Sir Nicholas Shehadie attended the service and Her Excellency delivered the commemorative address.
Throughout NSW there are some 145 memorials that were erected during and soon after the Boer War. Boer War Day is celebrated where there are Boer War memorials or where there are groups of descendants and friends.
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Meeting 11:00 at the Three Springs Hotel and then walk down to the Jack Thorpe gardens and the Memorial. It
was a low key service, lay a wreath, the ODE then a minute's silence.
Uralla RSL held a BWD service:
Wentworth Historical Society Inc put on a display at the Wentworth Shire Library featuring Trooper 3483 Thomas Alexander Jackson. Other troopers featured were Ralph Cumming at Dareton Library and John Gunn Edwards at Buronga Library. Further information regarding the Boer war veterans from the Wentworth area can be directed to the society at: .
The ladies are from left Faye Jenzen, Jean Davidson and Jenny McLeod (President of WHS)
Torrential rain chased the 40 people present from the BWM in McQuade Park into the Windsor RSL Club where a wonderful ceremony took place.
A large number of wreaths were laid by officials and descendants. A luncheon followed and the support was boarder based than in previous years.
The Wollongong RSL sub-Branch held a wreath laying Ceremony at 1100 hrs at the Wollongong Cenotaph and War Memorial on Sunday 29 May 2011.
The RSL Wyong Sub-Branch held a wreath laying and commemorative ceremony.
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