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South African War Memorial : 30-September-2013
South African War Memorial : 30-September-2013

Photographs supplied by Glen Yeomans / Sandra Brown

The South African War Memorial commemorates those who served in the Boer War 1899-1902. The monument was unveiled by Lord Kitchener, and is a cupola, with four supporting sandstone lions, surmounts an arched sandstone structure with an enclosed bronze figure of an Australian soldier with rifle at the ready. Four columns at the extremities complete the classical centre section, with the whole resting upon a base of gray granite blocks.

Additional names were added to the Memorial in the 1960`s, including that of Lieutenant Peter Handcock, executed by order of a British Court Martial. Along with Harry "Breaker" Morant he was convicted of shooting Boer Prisoners. This story was popularised in the 1979 film "Breaker Morant".

There is a folk story in Bathurst that General Kitchener refused to unveil the monument in 1910 until the name of Lieutenant Peter Handcock, a local man, was removed. Handcock had been executed along with "Breaker" Morant in the Boer War after being found guilty of murder. The two claimed they were following orders - Kitchener`s orders. Kitchener did indeed unveil the monument on the occasion of a brief visit to Bathurst, part of an extended tour to investigate and report on Australia`s defence needs. He did not, however, insist on the removal of Handcock`s name - for his name was not on the Memorial.

The erection of the Bathurst Soldiers memorial, or that portion of it covered by the present contract, will be completed tomorrow. The memorial, which occupies a site on the William-street end of Market Square, in the centre of the city, consists of four arches out of solid stone, built upon a granite base and superimposed by a copper dome, housing a life-size bronze figure of a soldier at the ready. Upon the front of the monument, immediately above the foundation-stone, is a large bronze plate bearing the names of the 90 residents of the district who served in the South African War, including the four who lost their lives. The present contract cost £650, or about £10 in excess of the amount of money in hand and to make the memorial complete the expenditure of another £150 will be necessary. This is for the construction of a raised circular plateau, 2ft high and 60ft in diameter, with four flights of white steps. An effort is being made to secure Lord Kitchener to perform the opening ceremony.
Goulburn Evening Penny Post (NSW), 5 October 1909.

Lord Kitchener arrived in Bathurst on Monday afternoon. He remained about four hours, but during that time continued with his restless energy to listen to addresses of welcome, make a few remarks himself, review the senior and junior cadets and veterans, present the Empire cups and trophies won by the Bathurst Civilian Rifle Club, dine with Mr. Jago Smith, M.L.C., and also to perform, what will be a unique ceremony during his flying trip through Australia, viz., the unveiling of a memorial to the men from Bathurst who fought and fell in South Africa.
Molong Argus (NSW), 14 January 1910.

Location

Address:Russell & William Streets, Bathurst, 2795
State:NSW
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.418265
Long: 149.57975
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Conflict
Sub-Theme:Boer
Actual Event STart Date:11-October-1899
Actual Event End Date:31-May-1902
Monument Designer:Gilbert Doble (Sculpture), John Copeman (Monument)

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Monday 10th January, 1910
Front Inscription

Unveiled By Lord Kitchener
January 10th 1910

(lower plaque)

To The Honour Of The Bathurst Men Who Served In The
1899 South African War 1902
[ Names ]

In Memory Of Those Who Gave Their Lives For The Empire
[ Names ]

This Stone Was Laid By Ald F. B. Kenny Mayor 1909.

Source: MA,SKP,NRWM,CRE
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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