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European colonialism was at the heart of his conflict. From early in the nineteenth century the southern tip of Africa had been shared between the British and Dutch settlers and the relationship was an uneasy one. The Afrikaners or Boers, were descendants of the original seventeenth and eighteenth century Dutch settlers. The discovery of gold and diamonds in the Boer republics in the 1880’s further intensified the rivalry, as British subjects traveled into Boer territories in search of wealth. The unease spilt over into the first Boer War was fought between the British and the Boers from 16 December 1880 until 23 March 1881.
The second Boer War broke the uneasy truce since the end of first war hostilities. As loyal subjects of the British Empire, around 16000 Australians volunteered to fight for “the mother country” against the Boers. The onset of the war was pre-Federation, when Australia was still made up of six colonies and each of the colonies sent contingents to support Britain. Partially as a consequence of this, enlistment detail is notoriously inaccurate. In many cases, formal enlistment did not occur until arrival in Africa.
Post-Federation in 1901, an additional three contingents were raised by the new Commonwealth of Australia but most arrived too late or were still at sea when the war ended on 31 May 1902, with a British victory. All Boers became British subjects upon the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging. Ironically, within nine years South Africa became a self-governing dominion led by former Boer generals.
Approximately 600 Australian soldiers died in the Boer War; about half from military action and half from disease.
The Boer War spawned the first military folk-heroes in Australia, including the legend of Private Harry (“Breaker”) Morant which became the subject of books, a stage play and a 1980 film adaptation by Australian Director Bruce Beresford.
Horses played a vital role in the Boer war. Reputedly over 360 000 horses were shipped into South Africa, as well as vast numbers of mules and donkeys.
In the field of battle, horses had many roles including the carriage of infantry, to the field of battles, cavalry conflict where the soldier stays on his horse and as gun-horses which dragged large guns to the front. Different breeds of horses were better-equipped naturally for these various tasks. The breeds and varieties of horses actively engaged in the Boer War included Argentinian and Burmese ponies, English chargers and Cape horses.
The uniquely Australian colonial horse, “The Waler” was the preferred mount for Australian troops. Approximately 16 000 were shipped to the Boer War; in approximate alignment to the number of Australian troops. The Waler arose from cross-breeding of a number of breeds brought to the new colonies in the late 18th and early 19th centuries and was considered a versatile work-horse, with good weight-carrying capabilities, speed and endurance.
Walers were bred not just for domestic needs but to supply a lucrative export trade, initially to the British army in India. The term “Waler” was coined by the British in India for those horses that were bred in the colony of New South Wales, but breeding of the Waler was not limited to north of the Murray river. In fact, Walers were reputedly bred and supplied to the British and then Australian army from Gidneys Farm, which formed part of the contemporary Aintree site.
The Boer War conditions took great toll on horses. Many were ill-equipped for the tasks they were required to undertake. Approximately 60% died in combat or as a result of mis-treatment or disease. Many were slaughtered for their meat.
This was the initial engagement of the Waler horse in combat. From this bloody beginning the breed later became legendary for its feats of endurance and courage with the Australian Light Horse regiments during World War 1, when approximately 121 000 Walers were engaged in the North African desert campaigns and later France.
VIEW FROM THE TOP! Check out this aerial of our ever evolving community in our latest drone video - keep an eye out for our August construction update that we will be sharing with you soon.
Registrations for stage 32 - The Frontier Release have booked out in just 30 seconds! Stay tuned for our next release coming soon...
CALLING ALL WOODLEA RESIDENTS (RENTERS INCLUDED)! Did you know we are launching our first ever Spring Gardening Competition? For more info on how you can participate and the EPIC prizes to be won, call us on 1300 966 353 or click here: http://bit.ly/2uNtPvS
We are proud to be working with Cricket Victoria to bring Milo In2Cricket to the kids and families of our area from October 2017! Join us for an information evening at the Woodlea Smart Learning hub on 22nd August @7pm to find out how you can get involved. MILO in2CRICKET The MILO in2CRICKET program teaches girls and boys the skills to play Australia's favourite sport, through fun game based activities. Click here for further info: http://playcricket.com.au/learn/in2cricket#
One of Australia's most successful children's picture book authors Graeme Base has launched a major exhibition of his works at the CS Gallery at Caroline Springs Library! Visitors can enjoy original hand drawn and painted artwork from most beloved books Animalia, The Eleventh Hour and Uno’s Garden. Hurry and check out this not to be missed exhibition.
We are delighted to announce the release of 70 brand new blocks in The Frontier Release, located in an urban pocket of the community - just a stroll to the future town centre. This release features BIGGER blocks up to 836sqm and frontages up to 20m+! Registrations open Saturday 19th August at 12noon. For info on how to register, please contact us on 1300 966 353
Did you know that Woodlea is part of a brand new suburb called AINTREE? City of Melton have been advised by the State Government's Office of Geographic Names, that the new suburbs and changes to existing suburbs are anticipated to come into full effect on 23rd August 2017. Click below to read the full article here.
It was wonderful to see so many committed residents gather for the third Annual Woodlea Community Planting Day at Kororoit Creek on the weekend. Despite some chilly conditions, the team of 50 were able to plant over 500 local indigenous plants, making their personal mark and transforming the landscape! A BIG thank you to everyone who joined and made a special contribution to our community.