In Canberra there’s a street that exists because of war. On either side of Anzac Parade there are statues and sculptures to commemorate those men and women who went off to every war that Australia has been part of over the past century and more. At the head of the street is the biggest monument of them all, the Australian War Memorial, not a statue but a building, built to commemorate those who fought in the First World War. Every war has been represented except one. The Boer War in South Africa.
We’ve needed a memorial for the mounted troops who fought there between 1899 and 1902. That gap will soon be filled. The sculptor, Louis Laumen, has created four bronze riders and horses for the commission. They are in place on Anzac Parade, but will remain covered in black plastic until the official opening on 31st May.
Until then we’ll be seeing phantom riders at dusk.
Beside the statues, a verse by A. B. Paterson (Banjo Paterson) reminds us of the courage of those who volunteered to fight in South Africa:
When the dash and the excitement and the novelty are dead,
And you’ve seen a load of wounded once or twice,
Or you’ve watched your old mate dying – with the vultures overhead,
Well, you wonder if the war is worth the price.
And down along Monaro now they’re starting out to shear,
I can picture the excitement and the row,
But they’ll miss me on the Lachlan when they call the roll this year,
For we’re going on a long job now.
A.B. Paterson 1902
The war memorial building and Anzac parade have National Heritage listing to ensure this tribute to the sacrifices by many generations of Australians is recognised and protected.
Thanks WordPress for prompting me to think about heritage for the photo challenge.