Boer War commemoration at Bega monument

AS OF Saturday, it has been 112 years since the signing of a treaty to bring to an end the Boer War.

On Friday, a gathering at the Bega Boer War Memorial paid tribute to the servicemen whose names are engraved there – and several whose aren’t.

Attending the 11am service were local veterans and members of the Bega RSL sub-branch, Bega Historical Society representatives and students and staff from Bega High School.

Bega RSL sub-branch president Barry Stoney was pleased with the turn-out, saying he had only planned for a small informal service to remember those who served in the Boer War “because not enough attention is paid to this memorial”.

In his speech, Mr Stoney highlighted the Boer War service of Bega Valley men.

“The first contingent of NSW Lancers, which included the men and horses from the Bega district, sailed on the Aberdeen on November 3, 1899, as “A Squadron” of the NSW Mounted Rifles.

“By January 1900 they were in action at places named on this memorial and others such as Preseka and Ramah, Orange River and so on.”

The Boer War ended with the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging on May 31, 1902.

Stonemason Fred Zeigler constructed the Bega memorial – the only large-scale memorial on the coast south of Wollongong, Mr Stoney said – at a cost of 5000 pounds.

It was officially opened on October 4, 1905.

The gathering on Friday heard that in the foundation of the memorial is a letter signed by those who organised its construction, as well as a number of newspapers of the day including The Bega Standard, Southern Star, Evening News and Town and Country Journal.

“May this monument stand forever in Australia’s soil on which the blood of battle has not yet spilt, and peace, as today, reigns supreme,” the letter of August 18, 1905, reads in part.

“Let this grand and majestic monument stand so that the sight of it may cause the thrill of patriotism to flow through the veins of all young Australians.”

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