Topic: BW - Tas
Boer War - Tasmania
Contingents sent, 1899 - 1902
In 1911, Lieutenant-Colonel P. L. Murray, produced a marvellous Boer War reference detailing all the contingents sent from Australia to South Africa, giving a brief history of the formation and finally, listing all the soldiers who saw service in South Africa with that unit. The book was called, Official Records of the Australian Military Contingents to the War in South Africa. It is now the standard reference and starting place for any person interested in pursuing information about Australian involvement in the Boer War.
Murray, P. L., Official Records of the Australian Military Contingents to the War in South Africa, p. 545.
Authority for the Tasmanian Contingents was conferred by Statute, namely, the Tasmanian Military Contingent Act 1899, 63 Vic. No. 11, and by regulations thereunder.
Pay was issued to the first and second Contingents, according to rates as stated, by the Tasmanian Government and the Imperial Government ; to the remainder by the Imperial Government, the Tasmanian Government acting as agents.
Clothing, equipment, and necessaries ware furnished upon a liberal scale ; and horses and saddlery provided; but (as in saes of the other Contingents) not returned from South Africa.
Camps of Instruction were held in the lust instance at the Military Barracks Hobart; and afterwards at the Show Grounds, Newtown.
The period of engagement was twelve months, or the duration of the war. About twelve months was the average service of any Australian Contingent, though many officers, N.C.O.'s and men remained behind, and served in other Contingents or were employed.
Tasmania sent four Contingents to the war. A draft for the first Contingent is also sometimes counted as another; but this is manifestly erroneous, as will be perceived from the record of that Contingent. The State also contributed a half-company to First Australian Commonwealth Hone; a company to the Third, and a squadron to the Eighth.
The First Contingent was a company of Infantry, which was mounted in South Africa, and became part of the Australian Regiment. They were in General Clements' Force, and engaged in operations round Colesberg ; were in the advance upon Bloemfontein ; joined Colonel Henry's Brigade, and participated in the march to Pretoria, actions and operations. Thence to Komati Poort.
The Second Contingent (Bushmen) served with General Carrington's Column in Rhodesia and Western Transvaal; and afterwards under Lord Errol and Lord Methuen in Transvaal, Griqualand West, and Orange River Colony.
The Third (Imperial) Contingent were in operations in Eastern Orange Free State under General Paget ; and also under him in North East Transvaal and Western Transvaal. Operations in Cape Colony with General Plumer.
The Fourth (Imperial Bushmen) Contingent served in Cape Colony under General French, and subsequently joined Colonel Gorring's Flying Column, and did excellent service in many operations and actions.
Although the number of men and horses despatched to the front was naturally comparatively small, yet the Tasmanians did excellent work wherever they want ; and the proportion of honours and rewards distributed was relatively circumstance which speaks for itself with significance.
Further Reading:Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920
Citation: Boer War - Tasmania, Contingents sent, 1899 - 1902, Outline