Sergeant Major George GriffinPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Peter F Williams / John Huth

The Naval Artillery Volunteers and the First Australian Horse joined to erect a monument in the Sydney Town Hall in memory of Sergeant Major Griffin. At an impressive ceremony, presided over by the Mayor of Sydney, a plaster replica was unveiled on the eve of the departure of the Imperial Bushmen’s Contingent for South Africa. The commanding officer Lieutenant-Colonel Kenneth Mackay, a personal friend of Griffin, had the honour of unveiling the replica, as the marble monument had not then been completed.

Griffin served with the Royal Artillery (Naval) Reserve for thirteen years and then the First Australian Horse. At the time of his enlistment he was working as an accountant at the Mount Kimo Gold Mines in Gundagai. He was credited with taking a prominent part in the formation of the Gundagai squadron of the First Australian Horse, of which his brother Walter Trementere Griffin, a solicitor, was the commanding officer.

The contingent left Newcastle on the Langton Grange under the command of Lieutenant Willoughby Dowling, arriving in Cape Town on 14 November 1899. On arrival they were attached to the Royal Scots Greys serving under General French’s command.

At dawn on 16 January, Lieutenant W V Dowling of the Mudgee Squadron of the Australian Horse led a party of NSW Lancers and Australian Horsemen to patrol the area towards Norval’s Pont, north-east of Colesberg. It is believed that a Dutch farmer warned the Boers, of the whereabouts of the Australian patrol and they successfully ambushed the patrol at Rensburg. Griffin was killed by a bullet wound to the head and Lance Corporal Kilpatrick fatally wounded. Fourteen members of the patrol, including Dowling, were taken prisoner, with the remainder managing to escape capture.

The unveiling of the memorial erected to the memory of the late Sergeant-Major G. Griffin, took place at the Town Hall, Sydney, on Sunday afternoon last. There was a large gathering which included the Premier and several Ministers, military and naval men. Lieutenant Griffin, and Troopers A. Hunt and M. Machen, of Gundagai were also present. The Mayor of Sydney presided and the unveiling ceremony was performed by the Premier amidst loud cheering, and Mr. Pacie sang, " Be Though Faithful unto Death," and the Naval Band played the Funeral March. Lieutenant-Colonel Mackay, Sir George Dibbs, Major-General French and Messrs See and Meagher, M's.P., were the other speakers. The tablet is not yet finished, but this formal ceremony was performed with the aid of a replica in plaster. Colonel Mackay, in speaking, said,
'' While it may be necessary to erect a tablet so that strangers may remember Griffin, it is redundant in the case of his friends, for in their hearts his memory will ever remain green."
Gundagai Independent and Pastoral, Agricultural and Mining Advocate (NSW), 25 April 1900. 


Address:483 George Street, Sydney Town Hall, Sydney, 2000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.873223
Long: 151.206716
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:People
Actual Event STart Date:11-October-1899
Actual Event End Date:31-May-1902
Monument Designer:Achille Simonetti completed by James White


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 22nd April, 1900
Front Inscription

In Memory of 
Troop Sergeant-Major
1st Aust Horse, 
And For Many Years
C.P.O. N.S.W. N.A.V.
He Was The First Of The 
N.S.W. Contingent
To Fall For The Empire 
In South Africa, 
Killed In Action
At Slingersfontein
Jan. 16th 1900, Aged 34,
“For Queen And Country"

Erected By His Comrades And Friends

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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