South African War Memorial
Public Art : South African War Memorial, also known
as the Boer War Memorial
Sculptor : © James Watts
Date : 1919
Description : A bronze life-size statue depicting a
Queensland Mounted Infantryman on his stead. If you look carefully you will see the horse is branded with the
letters QG (Queensland Government). On two sides of the trachyte pedestal are bronze plaques with the
names of the eighty-nine Queensland soldiers who lost their lives in the Boer War. The pedestal was made by the
local masonry firm of Lowther and Sons.
Cost : £2,674 (including pedestal)
Location : The South African War Memorial was
originally located at the intersection of Turbot and Edward Streets (below Jacobs Ladder), but was moved
to Adelaide Street side of ANZAC Square (brisbane) in early April 1939, just in time for the Anzac Day
For God King and Empire
To the men and women who
by patriotism and sacrifice
served their country
during the Great Wars
and in hallowed memory
of those who made
the supreme sacrifice
this monument is erected
by the people of Queensland
Really brief history behind the Boer War : The Boer
War, which was also known as the South African War, was fought between 11 October 1899 and 31 May 1902. The war was
between the British Empire (including its colonies of Australia, Canada and New Zealand) and two independent Boer
republics (Orange Free State and the Transvaal Republic). During the Napoleonic Wars (1803-1815), southern Africa
had been divided up between British colonies and independent republics of Dutch-Afrikaner settlers (Boers). The
two had pretty much co-existed peacefully together without too many conflicts, that was, until, the 1880's,
when gold and diamonds were discovered in the Boer republics.
The British, under the lead of Alfred Milner (High Commissioner of Cape Colony in South Africa),
wanted to create a Cape-to-Cairo confederation of British colonies and basically take over the gold mines in the
Dutch Boer republics. In 1899 tensions were high and the Boers, fearing the British would attack, declared war and
invaded Cape Colony and Colony of Natal. The war would last nearly 3 years and lead to the the Union of South
Africa being established as a member of the Commonwealth in 1910.
History Behind the South African War Memorial in
Queensland : This memorial was first envisaged in 1901 prior to the Boer
War's end. The following year the Fallen Soldier's Memorial Committee was formed. Unfortunately the
public were not very responsive to donating money for the statue and it was left mainly up to the South African War
servicemen to contribute the majority of the funding required. As is mostly the case with public memorials, a
competition was held for the best design and that honor went to local artist James Watt in 1912. Watt's clay model
was sent to England to be cast in bronze but it coincided with the outbreak of World War I and could only be
completed following the end of the war.
Points of Interest: This memorial
was the first statue created by a local artist in Queensland.
The soldier is rumored to be based on the bronze statue "The Scout in War" by sculptor William
Reynolds-Stephen, which was erected in East London, South Africa in 1908.
LEST WE FORGET