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19 Oct 2023

The Best Of Canberra: The Boer War Memorial

Located right by the Anzac Parade is a significant monument that serves as a reminder of the brave soldiers who fought in the war.: The Boer War Memorial. Read on to learn more about this important memorial and discover what makes it a must-visit attraction in Canberra. If you want to see a glimpse of the mesmerising memorial, watch the YouTube video below.

What is the Boer War and when did it happen?

The Boer War was fought between 1899 and 1902 between the British Empire and the Boers from South Africa, Around 16,000 Australian soldiers were sent to fight in this war, and 600 of them lost their lives. The Boer War Memorial was built in 1926 to honour and remember these soldiers, making it one of the oldest memorials in Canberra. In 2007, it also became the first memorial on the Anzac Parade to include New Zealand soldiers. 

The Boer War Memorial of today stands as a poignant testament to these historical events. It is more than just a structure; it’s a place where the tales of courage and sacrifice come alive. Each intricate detail of the monument echoes the stories of those who served and fought in the unfortunate war. It also embodies the spirit of unity between Australia and New Zealand. Through its solemn presence on the Anzac Parade, it continues to connect visitors with a significant chapter of our shared history.

The sad story behind the magnificent Boer War Memorial sculptures

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Image from the Boer War Memorial Website

The Boer War Memorial was designed by Jane Cavanough. The sculptor was Louis Laumen. It features a tall column with a winged statue on top, representing victory. Laumen’s artwork honours those who endured the harsh realities of warfare: severe weather extremes, scarce food and water supplies, the looming peril of deadly diseases, and the ever-present possibility of death. The patrol segment of the memorial depicts the lancers, bushmen, riflemen, artillerymen, and medics along with their trusted horse companions.

This memorial acknowledges the crucial role that horses played in the Boer War, as all Australian soldiers either rode on horseback or relied on these noble animals for the transport of their artillery, ambulances, and supply wagons.

The National Boer War Memorial site was officially consecrated and the Boer War Memorial Project was inaugurated on 31 May 2008. The Honourable Bob McMullen MP, on behalf of the Prime Minister, graced the occasion.

Boer War Memorial: A place of tribute and community

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Image from the Boer War Memorial Website

This remarkable memorial is a testament to the endurance and resilience of these troops as they battled on foreign soil. The statues, forever etched in a mounted charge, capture the spirit of courage and determination that defined these soldiers. It’s a site that invites reflection and pays homage to the countless individuals who dedicated themselves to their countries, even when facing the unknown.

The Boer War Memorial not only serves as a tribute to those who fought in the war but also provides a tranquil space for reflection and remembrance. The beautifully landscaped gardens surrounding the monument offer visitors a peaceful setting to pay their respects. 

The memorial is often used for commemorative ceremonies, making it an important gathering place for the community. It serves as a reminder of the sacrifices made by our ancestors and encourages us to remember and honour their legacy.

Want to learn more? 

For many, the Boer War might not be a familiar historical event, especially for the younger generations. However, the realities of this past conflict were brought into the public eye by the 1980 film ‘Breaker Morant.’ This critically acclaimed movie offers an insight into the war, its circumstances, and the ordeals faced by Australian troops in the unfamiliar landscape of South Africa. Breaker Morant is a story of bravery and the ethical dilemmas that arise during times of conflict. If you’re interested in delving deeper into the history and insights of the Boer War, we highly recommend watching Breaker Morant. The film provides a powerful portrayal of the challenges faced by Australian soldiers during the conflict. 

Moreover, if you wish to further enrich your understanding, consider booking a tour with Canberra Guided Tours. They offer comprehensive guided tours around The Boer War Memorial and various other significant sites in Canberra, offering an immersive and informative experience in the company of a knowledgeable local tour guide.

Plan Your Visit To The Boer War Memorial

The Boer War Memorial is more than just a static monument; it’s a living testament to the past. Open to the public, it is located by the Anzac Parade in Canberra, just a short walk from the National War Memorial and the breathtaking views of Lake Burley Griffin and nestled right in the heart of Canberra.

Over the years, as the shrubs surrounding it grow, the significance deepens and reminds us of the sacrifices made by those who served in the Boer War and, by extension, all Australian and New Zealand soldiers who served during those times. 

Visiting the Boer War Memorial on Anzac Parade is an experience that’s both educational and emotionally moving. It’s an opportunity to connect with Australia’s military heritage and gain insight into the sacrifices made by past generations. The monument is a testament to the courage and commitment of those who served, making it an essential stop for history enthusiasts and anyone who wishes to pay their respects.

So, when you’re in Canberra, take the time to explore Anzac Parade and the Boer War Memorial. Journey back in time and pay tribute to the remarkable individuals who courageously gave their lives and shaped our history.

Canberra Guided Tours offers a range of informative and engaging tours that delve into the rich history of Australia’s capital. We have plenty of tour options and services you can add to your itinerary, like private charters and a step-on tour guide. Join us and discover Canberra through the eyes of our expert local guides.

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