The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

Boer War Day 2012

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.

Check out the Boer War Day commemoration by Australians in Pretoria, SOUTH AFRICA.

Click on the map below to find out the details in your location. If your town has a red square on the yellow tag, an activity was planned or happened. 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.

 Adelaide Sunday 27 May 2012 go to top of page

It is most pleasing to announce that 200 attended the service on Sunday 27 May 2012.

The Adelaide memorial is situated in Adelaide central outside Government House Gates,in a very prominent position.

This does require some logistical planning,due to the city traffic flow and safety for those attending.

At 11.00 am the service commenced lead by Mike Norton Chair South Australian National Boer War Committee.

A procession lead by the Scotch College Pipes and drums, with The Barossa Light Horse Historical Society following in full uniform of the Boer War Light Horse. They proceeded from Torrens Parade Ground, where the Boer War Troops left from and then to the Boer War Memorial.

A most impressive sight as they made their way up King William Road and then the Pipes and Drums leading the horses,made a spectacular entrance through the awaiting crowd.

The Padre Reverend Garry Prince lead us in thoughtful prayer in commemoration of the various aspects of the Boer War,including those who did not return and those who did return,also the Horses and Nurses who left South Australia.

The Bugler/trumpeter was Major Colin Smith of the Salvation Army Band.

Tributes were placed by Brigadier Max Lemon on behalf of the RSL. The Hon Jing Lee representing the Shadow Minister for Veterans Affairs in South Australia.

Monty Smith (S Aust Committee Member) placed a tribute on behalf of the Nurses who left these shores.

Don Pedler (a descendant) placed a tribute in in remembrance of his great uncle The Man on the Horse on the Monument.

Other Descendants placed tributes. It was most encouraging to see younger members of the descendants place tributes for their Great Grand fathers etc.

Also in prime position were two Newfoundland Dogs who represented NELSON who was the Mascot for the first contingent leaving South Australia.

The Scotch College Pipers played a lament "flowers in the forest" at the end of the service and this did really have an emotional finish to the ceremony.

Invited guests then proceeded to Torrens Parade Ground (R S L Boardroom) for refreshments and fellowship - Adelaide Style !!


Over the last 12 months there has been a move towards engaging descendants in taking interest in the National Boer War Memorial Association.

The support is now growing and it is great to report that a gathering of descendants is being planned,so that descendants are able to come together with the aim of keeping the Boer War Memorial Association ALIVE in South Australia.


 Albury Sunday 27 May 2012 go to top of page

Albury RSL held a Boer War service on the 27th May at our Memorial on Monument Hill at 11 am. The service was attended by about 40 people. In the gathering was a direct descendant of a Boer War soldier-S/Sgt James Patrick Scanlan, 1 NSW Mtd Rifles - from our area. The Albury Historical Society was fortunate to find and invite some other family descendants of Scanlan to attend the moving service, including soloist Ms Sarah Winnel from the Scots School Albury to sing a Hymn and the National anthem. The family deeply appreciated the service. During the service I read out a letter he sent from the front during a lull in the fighting. The description of the action was very moving and precise. Along with the help of the Albury Historical Society I mailed a wreath to South Africa to be placed on the grave of the only soldier from our area to have paid the ultimate sacrifice and is buried in a cemetery so far away, Bdr Bernard Gowing, 'A' Bty Royal Australian Artillery.

Story and photo Colin Darts, President Albury RSL, and Chris McQuellin, Albury and District Historical Society

 Bathurst Sunday 27 May 2012 go to top of page

Boer War Day 2012 in Bathurst was commemorated on Sunday 27 May 2012 at the memorial 160 Russell Street commencing at 10:00.

A few images from our Boer War Day commemoration service held in Bathurst on 27-5-2012. We had some 35 people attend this service including the Hon Paul Toole MP, State Member for Bathurst.

Looking at the front of the memorial and from L to R are: Paul Roberts (National flag), Denis Chamberlain, Councillor Tracy Carpenter, Deputy Mayor of Bathurst Regional Council, The Right Reverend Richard Hurford OAM, Anglican Bishop of the Bathurst Diocese & Fred Collett (Union Jack).

WIN TV covered the story and the Western Advocate newspaper ran a story on Monday, 28 May 2012. Bruce Ryan recorded the event in his Bathurst Remembers program.

As you can see it was well documented.


 Brisbane Thursday 31 May 2012 go to top of page

The Boer War Committee celebrated National Boer War Day with a Vice-Regal ceremony in Brisbane's ANZAC Square on Thursday 31st May, 2012 under sunshine despite the heavy overnight rain (and more rain that followed the ceremony's conclusion!).

Her Excellency The Governor of Queensland, Ms Penelope Wensley AC, was the principal guest. Other VIP guests included LTCOL Mark Welburn, CO 2nd/14th Light Horse (Queensland Mounted Infantry), Cr Andrew Wines representing the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Ms Alison Stanley, Deputy Commissioner DVA Qld, Mr John Strachan OAM, Deputy President RSL Qld and Patrick O'Loughlin, Federal President RAAC Assn. Hosting Her Excellency was LTCOL Ron McElwaine (Retd) Chairman of the BWM Qld Committee.

Soldiers from 2/14 LH (QMI) provided the Lance Catafalque Guard, Boer War heritage was personified by the Queensland Mounted Infantry Historical Troop led by Pete Riches; Music was provided by the Australian Army Band Brisbane led by MAJ Jeff Cocks, with bugler LCPL David Wood playing Last Post & Rouse and CPL Simone Dew leading the singing of the national anthem. The Ode was read by LTCOL Jack Chipman (Retd). Padre, Fr Geoff Reeder, led the prayers and delivered the Benediction and CAPT Bill Cross (Retd) was the MC.

Her Excellency's speech was first class for both it's relevance and its delivery, she stole the show! (At the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Dinner at Qld's Parliament House on Mon 4th June, attended by 5 BWM Qld Committee members, during her speech Her Excellency made further comment about the "need to right the wrong" of not having a national memorial in Canberra to honour the Boer War veterans).

The BWM Committee donated a replica of the 14th Light Horse Regiment's 1904 King's Banner which was presented to today's Regiment by Her Excellency to the Commanding Officer of 2/14 LH (QMI), LTCOL Mark Welburn.

As a Vice-Regal occasion, there were many members of the media present among the 110+ guests, and even more descendants of a Boer War veteran. At the conclusion of the memorial service Her Excellency joined guests for a morning tea at The Brisbane Club.



 Canberra Sunday 3 June 2012 go to top of page

On Thursday 31 May 2012 at 02.00 - 02:30 PM, the Reverend Paul Black and the ACT NBWM Committee conducted a commoerative service at Saint John the Baptist Anglican Church, Reid (located directly behind the NBWM site on ANZAC Parade). This is to pay tribute to two local Boer War Veterans who died as a result of their service and are commoerated at the church.These are Pte William Frederick Young of the 1st Australian Horse who died of disease and Sgt William Bradshaw Galliard Smith of 2nd Scottish Horse killed in action. Medals of Boer War veterans may be worn on the right breast by descendants during the service.

On Thursday 31 May 2012, the Australian War Memorial in conjunction with the ACT NBWM Committee conducted a special anniversary closing ceremony to commemorate the 110th anniversary of signing of the Peace treaty at Vereeniging in South Africa on 31 May 1902. This will be held in the commemorative area of the memorial and will begin shortly before 5:00 PM and will consist of a short anniversary address followed by the sounding of the Last Post. Medals of Boer War veterans may be worn on the right breast during the ceremony.

The ACT Committee of the National Boer War Memorial Association also conducted a commemorative ceremony to remember the signing of the peace treaty starting at 14:00 on Sunday 03 June 2012 at the site of the National Boer War Memorial on ANZAC Parade.

 Clarence Town Sunday 27 May 2012 go to top of page

Clarence Town ANZAC Committee was holding a service on the 27th May at 10:00 am.

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.

 Hobart Sunday 3 June 2012 go to top of page

The annual Tasmanian Boer War Commemorative Day (BWCD) was conducted in two centres during June, at Hobart and Launceston. The motto of the BWCD is simple, "To Honour those who Served". It was the tenth time in Hobart such an observance was held and the sixth in Launceston.

The Organiser of the event, historian and author Mr Reg watson, said that to herald the 110th anniversary of the ending of The Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) a plaque to the memory of Nurse Orr was unveiled in Hobart, jointly by himself and Alderman Helen Burnet of the Hobart City Council.

'Nurse Orr was an amazing person. She not only served with great distinction during the Boer War, but she was an outstanding nurse during World War One. On one occasion she was in charge, as Sister Orr, of the hospital ships at Gallipoli,' said Mr Watson.

'She was a marvellous daughter of Tasmania and it was great to see a memorial to her and to other nurses unveiled,' he said.

The plaque was sponsored by the Royal Hobart Hospital Graduate Nurses Association.

'The best Hobart event ever,' added Mr. Watson.

 Launceston Sunday 10 June 2012 go to top of page

The Launceston service was held the following Sunday at the Boer War Memorial, City Park. Again the weather was sparkling. In giving the address Mr Watson spoke of the bravery of the Australians, which included Tasmanians during the Elands River siege, where they held out from overwhelming odds for a fortnight.

The Launceston RSL City Band was present; cadets of the A Coy Tas AAC BT made up the Catafalque Party, while Mr Gary Fitzallen gave the scriptural reading with Dr Frank Madill acting as MC.

Mr Watson said both ceremonies were highly successful, but so not to co-incide with the long weekend in Launceston next year, the northern event will be the last Sunday in May and not the second Sunday in June.

 Maitland Sunday 27 May 2012 go to top of page

Maitland RSL sub-Branch 2012 Boer War Service was held at the BWM Maitland Park, Maitland on Sunday 27 May 2012. The Mayor of Maitland, Mr Peter Blackmore officiated at the 10 am service, and afterwards members of Maitland RSL Sub-Branch who organised the day, proceeded to the Sandakan Memorial with the Malaya Borneo Assoc. for their own 11 am service. 

The service was well attended this year, (see photo) with a surprise five descendants of BW Veterans there (see photo). Two of these descendants, Mrs Rae Williams and Mr John Osborne also attended the National Reserve Forces Day Parade held in Newcastle on 30 June, representing their ancestors, when they were presented with 'Boer War Commemorative Ancestor's Medallions'.

 Melbourne Sunday 27 May 2012 go to top of page

The Melbourne Boer War Day 2012 Commemoration Service was held at 11.50 am on Sunday 27 May 2012 at the Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne.


 Mosman Thursday 31 May 2012 go to top of page

Organised by Mosman Council, RSL and Rotory the ceremony on a clear, crisp day was well attended. RSL's Ian Henderson chaired the ceremony. Dep. Mayor Cr Simon Menzies read Dr Craig Wilcox' provocative speech "Shouldn't we forget the Boer War?". Mons Eugene Harley led prayers, and reminded the gathering that the first parish priest at Mosman's Sacred Heart church, Fr Francis Timoney, had gone to the Boer war as chaplain to NSW Citizens Bushmen.

Tony Larnach-Jones, in all three roles of Chair of the NSW Boer War Memorial Assn, member of Mosman Rotory and Mosman RSL sub-branch, gave the Commemorative Address asking that the Boer War be correctly placed in the evolution of the ANZAC legend; when Charlie Barnett, President of Mosman Rotory noted that the newly refurbished War Memorial Cenotaph now included a Boer War plaque and that we should support the proposed one for the national capital.

DOWNLOAD order of service.

 Nowra Sunday 27 May 2012 go to top of page

 Parramatta Sunday 27 May 2012 go to top of page

Boer War exhibition 10:00 - 16:00 New South Wales Lancers' Museum, Parramatta Sunday 27 May 2012.

 Perth Sunday 27 May 2012 go to top of page

The Comemoration in Perth was attended by Malcolm McCusker AC CVO QC, Governor of Western Australia and addressed by the OC A Sqn XLH Major Geoffrey Craggs, and the XLH Chaplain Marie Collins will lead the prayers. John Sweetman will address the actions of the Western Australian Mounted Infantry, whilst Brian Ross chair of the Boer combatant subcommittee, whose Irish grandfather fought on Boer side as the Commandant of the Verde Commando, will deliver a Boer perspective.

WHERE: At the South African War Memorial in Kings Park, PERTH
WHEN: On Sunday 27 May at 11.00hrs
WHY: To commemorate the 110th anniversay of the signing of the Vereeninging Peace Accords that ended
WHO: The event is a Vice Regal one and is organised by the National Boer War Memorial Committee

Photos of the ceremony appear below:

 Rylstone Sunday 27 May 2012 go to top of page

A brief service was  conducted on Sunday 27 May 2012 at the at 10:00hrs at the Community Centre and adjacent Rylstone Boer War Memorial cnr Louee and Cudgegong Streets to commemorate those from the district who served in the Boer War.

For more information, please contact Geoff Marr 02 6379 1511.

 St Marys Sunday 27 May 2012 go to top of page

For 27 May at St Marys, our Address was given by the key researcher (Treasurer and former long-term President) from the St Marys Historical Society, Mrs Norma Thorburn - Topic: 'St Marys in the Boer War'.

The Society have quite a good range of material in their premises covering the era. They have restored a British flag which had been 'souvenired' from the Boer War by a St Marys returnee - it hangs encased in place of honour over the Society's mantelpiece. While we (unfortunately) can't transport it to the Service, a photo of it will appear in the background of the Service Sheet middle pages. Also, no doubt, Norma will refer in her Address to the fact that Major Thomas (re Breaker Morant incident) was born in St Marys

The Service Sheet is currently being assembled and will appear on the web soon. While we don't expect the same level of school involvement this year, at least 3 schools that were well represented in the 'crowd'. We'll again use the SA pith helmet from the Lancers' Museum at our memorial stone as the focal-point.

DOWNLOAD Order of Service.

SEE REPORT on activity.


 Sydney Sunday 27 May 2012 go to top of page

ANZAC Memorial - Hyde Park South, Sydney.

Sydney held its annual Boer War Commemorative Service at the ANZAC Memorial in Hyde Park on Sunday 27th May. The Keynote speakers were Dr Geoffrey Lee MP representing the Premier of NSW and Major General Mick Slater DSC, AO, CSC Commander Forces Command. Our Chairman Lt Col Tony Larnach Jones outlined the current state of progress on the memorial. Senator Matt Thistlewaite represented the Prime Minister, Ms Bronwyn Bishop represented Mr Tony Abbott and Mr Robert Furolo MP represented the Leader of the Opposition in NSW. Wreaths were also laid by the representatives of the New Zealand Defence Force, State branch of the Returned and Services League, War Widows Association and Boer War Descendants, South African Veterans Association, Jewish Ex Services. Numbers were down a little previous years due to a number of factors. We had good support from the Government of NSW, Forces Command, The ANZAC Memorial Staff in particular the new Corps of Guardians, and the staff from Minister Dominello's office.

Leichardt Public School Sydney

Bernadette Mottram and David Deasey attended Leichardt Public School for their Boer War Day service on the 31st May. David Deasey gave the Commemorative address. One of the students played the Last Post and Reveille-brilliant effort! We had 250 students years 3-6, some parents, A representative from Petersham RSL and Jamie Parker the local State MP. Mike Fitzgerald attended in Lancer uniform (big hit with the kids). The occasion was not only their first Boer War Day service (they propose to continue the tradition in future years) but also the rededication of their refurbished War Memorials on the occasion of the 150th year of the schools existence. There is a plaque to the memory of Cpl Fred Kilpatrick NSW Lancers, the 2nd soldier from NSW killed in the war (Slingersfontein 16 Jan 1900 ). He was an old boy and former teacher at the school. The ceremony was run by the kids and went well. Principal James Reid was quite ecstatic with the outcome. One of the teachers was enthusiastic about including the Boer War in teaching material in her lessons and has used our website to give her students online research experience as part of their HSIE and IT experience.

 Tamworth 27 May 2012 go to top of page

Tamworth Boer War Day Commemoration Ceremony Sun 27 May 2012

Tamworth RSL Sub-Branch held its biennial commemoration service at the Boer War Memorial in Railway Memorial Park, Tamworth. The aim of the service was to honour the 23,000 Australian men and women who served in the Boer War and to increase public awareness about the 1,000 Australians who died in that war and are buried in South Africa.

Approximately 50 people attended, including many who are descendants of those who served in the Boer War. Representatives of all local Ex-Service organisations placed wreaths during the service, as did the member for Tamworth, Mr Kevin Anderson MP, and a number of private citizens. The commemoration address was delivered by Mr Barry Follington, President of the Tamworth RSL Sub-Branch.

Thanks to the hard work of the Management and Staff of the local Bunnings Warehouse, the memorial and surrounds were in sparkling condition, and, for the first time in decades, the fountain was working.

The next Boer War Day commemoration service will be held in Tamworth on the last Sunday in May 2014.

 Three Springs Sunday 3 June 2012 go to top of page

Three Springs held a short service on Sunday the 3rd of June.

Two photos taken at the Boer War Service at Three Springs WA. One is of the Three Springs RSL Members at our memorial, who attended the service. The other is of; 61 Francis James Morgan's medal and discharge details. I also read to the gathering, part of a letter, written by Francis James to his brother, my Grandfather, Steve, dated September 1900.

Ray Morgan

 Windsor Thursday 31 May 2012 go to top of page

A good crowd of BW veterans' descendants and supporters from the Windsor area turned out to observe Boer War Day on the actual anniversary 31 May 2012. The ceremony, at our well-mantained Boer War Memorial in George St, Windsor, was organised and run by the Windsor RSL Sub Branch President Leon Walker.  Ph: 02 4572 7768/0439 727 768 email.


 Wollongong 29 May 2012 go to top of page

WOLLONGONG As President of the Illawarra National Servicemen`s Association, I chaired our monthly meeting on Sunday, 27 May 2012.

All members then ventured to the Wollongong Cenotaph to visit the Boer War memorial where Tpr Frank Andrews is remembered. I made a short speech about Australia's involvement in the Boer War. Our guest speaker, Maj Gen Brian Howard AO, MC, ESM (Ret) laid a wreath in memory of Tpr Andrews. The ceremony ended with the Ode Of Remembrance. We then returned to our meeting venue for lunch.

Mark Edwell


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