The Australian Boer War Memorial
Anzac Parade Canberra

Course of the Boer War

The Boer war was noted for a number of innovations. It was the first war where accurate to 2,000 metres Mauser rifles (Boer side only), with smokeless ammunition and antiseptic surgery were employed.  Combatants could be taken out at long range without their enemies working out where the shots came from, soldiers had a much better chance of surviving wounds.  With one side, the British, having force size definitely on their side, the war soon transitioned from a series of set piece battles to a guerrilla fight across a wide country.  The barbed wire and entrenchments that would stifle mobility were 15 years in the future; the combat was one of mobility by a large force (the British) against a better armed (Mausers of varying types almost all using smokeless cartridges (Boers) vs Martini Henry and .303 Lee Metford (Brits) some with smokeless cartridges) and skilful enemy (the Boers).  Horse mounted soldiers who used their horses for mobility but fought on foot were the most combat capable arm.  Cavalry units still carried their shock weapons, but for the most part left their lances and swords with their horses, and fought on foot with their rifles; infantry units were quickly mounted. Australian soldiers with their horsemanship and shooting skills honed from infancy in a wide land where shooting was both a sport and a profession were very effective.

This page lists the engagements and other events Australians were involved in by time line, and shows an interactive map to help site visitors understand where the events took place.  Thanks very much to Major John Baines RFD, the Royal Australian Armoured Corps Historian and Robin Droogleever for their work in providing the information.  This work has been edited and assembled by the National Boer War Memorial Association Inc Webmaster; John Howells.

 Events by Time Line go to top of page

11 October 1899 Boers Advance into Natal and Cape Colony
21 October 1899 Elandslaagte
2 November 1899 Australians Arrive SA
23 November 1899 Belmont
28 November 1899 Modder River
1 January 1900 Sunnyside
16 January 1900 Slingersfontein
9-28 February 1900 Colesberg
11 February 1900 Kimberley
17 - 27 February 1900 Paardeberg
13 March 1900 Bloemfontein
22 April - 4 May 1900 Escape from Waterval
3 May 1900 Bloemfontein to Pretoria
5 May 1900 Coetzee's Drift
16 May 1900 Mafeking
28 May 1900 Johannesburg
6 June 1900 Pretoria
12 June 1900 Diamond Hill
19 July 1900 Palmietfontein
21 July 1900 Koster River
24 July 1900 Stinkhoutboom
4 August 1900 Elands River
29 November 1901 Rhenosterkop
11 to 27 February 1901 Hunt for De Wet in the Cape
18 February 1901 Hartebeestfontein
29 March 1901 Rhenosterkop
8 April 1901 Pietersburg
15 April 1901 Middelburg
10 May 1901 Korannafontein
12 June 1901 Wilmansrust Incident
16 September 1901 Spelonken Incident
4 January 1902 Onverwacht
10 March 1902 ACH arrives in South Africa
1 April 1902 Newcastle
19 April 1902 Klerksdorp
7 May 1902 Vryburg
31 May 1902 Peace of Vereeniging


 Events by Location go to top of page

Mouse over the yellow site label to find out what happened there, then click to be taken to a description of the event.

South Africa as it was in 1899

The red shading shows the border of the current Republic of South Africa

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RUSI of NSW Boer War Battlefields