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Our Moorabbin Boys

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South African War Memorial, Cheltenham. Photograph by P. Fairlam.

The residents of Moorabbin erected a memorial to “perpetuate the noble deeds of our Moorabbin boys … who volunteered and fought for the Empire in the South African War 1899-1902. The war broke out on October 11, 1899 between Britain and the two republics of the Transvaal and the Orange Free State. The Boers, citizens of these areas, were descendants of Dutch colonists in south Africa. The Australian contribution was 16,175 men of whom 518 were killed in action or died of wounds, 882 were wounded.

The Moorabbin memorial of polished red granite on a black basalt base is now found in the Cheltenham Park but was originally on the north west corner of Nepean Highway and Chesterville Road where it was placed in 1904 and unveiled by Sir Thomas Bent, at that time Premier of Victoria. Originally it had two handsome circular glass enclosed gas lamps and a bronze drinking fountain as part of its construction but these are now lost.

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Anzac Service in Cheltenham Memorial Park 1963. The South African War Memorial is to the left in the photograph.

There are forty seven soldiers named on the memorial and of those four died. One at Rustenburg, one at Elandshock and a third at Wilmansrust. The place of death of the fourth trooper is not given. The list of names is given below.

Tom Sheehy (1979) wrote that the soldiers were part of the Cheltenham unit of the Victorian Ranger Division. They were some of the first Victorian troops to be despatched to the South African War to engage in real battle.

Trooper W Christie died at Rustenburg 1900
F Clay killed in action at Elandshock 1901
J Collins killed in action at Wilmansrust 1901
F Fisher died

Returned

Serg. M Hawker
Trooper H Kennett
Trooper H Laing
Trooper F H Molvneux
Trooper E McCaughey
Trooper W H Newham
Trooper C R H Redstone
Trooper W G Rigg
Trooper W Silk
Trooper G A Stayner
Trooper R Westwood
Trooper R. Green
Trooper R Keys
Trooper T Matson
Trooper A J Monk
Trooper J McCormick
Trooper L W Penny
Trooper S M Reynolds
Trooper J Sadlier
Trooper W Spears
Trooper L Tuck
Trooper G M Wilson

LEST WE FORGET
ERECTED BY THE RESIDENTS OF MOORABBIN TO
PERPETUATE THE NOBLE DEEDS OF OUR MOORABBIN

BOYS WHOSE NAMES ARE INSCRIBED HEREON WHO VOLUNTEERED AND FOUGHT FOR THE EMPIRE IN THE

SOUTH AFRICAN WAR 1899-1902

Returned

Major Wm McKnight
Lieut. T H Germaine
Lieut. W Wedd
Serg. A Fisher
Serg. S Fraser
Far. Serg. P Ockenden
L/E. Serg. H S Newham
Corp. E Ethell L/E.
Corp. J E C Sledden
Trooper C Fisher
Trooper E Black
Trooper F Daff
Trooper J Daff
Trooper J Fisher
Trooper L W Collins
Trooper N O Giles
Trooper S Black
Trooper S Cowen
Trooper W E Carson
Trooper W Eden
Trooper W T Gillespie

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The South African War memorial on its original site on the corner of Chesterville Road and Point Nepean Road, Cheltenham, c1910.

Article Cat. At War
Article Ref. 110

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