Tuesday, April 3, 2007

South African War Memorial

The South African War Memorial is located on the Adelaide Street side of ANZAC Square. It is also known as the Boer War Memorial. Originally commissioned in 1912 to local Brisbane Sculptor James Watts, due to the first World War it was not erected in Brisbane until 1919. It was first placed at the intersection of Turbot and Edward Streets, and moved to its current location at ANZAC Square in early April 1939 in time for the Anzac Day ceremonies of that year. Restoration work was done in 1991.

The life-size bronzed statue depicts a Queensland Mounted Infantryman. Australian involvement in The Boer War was predominantly in mounted units from the colonies and later from the Commonwealth, known variously as Bushmen, Mounted Rifles, Imperial Bushmen, The Australian Commonwealth Horse and the Light Horse. Over 16,000 Australian troops served in the Boer War. The uniform and accoutrements show the sculptors significant attention to detail.

Like today's war, this particular war was largely over a desired asset. The main commercial and strategic reasons for the war were that the British wanted the gold mines of the Boer states. The British reinforced their army and received support from Australia. Like today, there was no real need for us to be there. However, I'm pleased that we have recognised the contribution these men made in giving the ultimate sacrifice. Eighty-nine Queenslanders died during the war. These are represented on plaques on both sides of the memorial.

Cheers, I Love Brisbane, Wes.

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