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Adelaide's South African (or Boer War) Memorial

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by Annie Waddington-Feather (subscribe)
Born in Yorkshire, raised in Shropshire, travelled the world. Lived in Adelaide and currently in UK. Love travel, ancient history, horses, cello playing, the unusual and obscure, and pottering in my own back yard. Visit my website
Published January 21st 2014
A striking landmark on North Terrace
Adelaides boer war monument, horses, Boer War, Harry Breaker Morant, Government house
Adelaide's Boer War Monument

With its almost-rearing stance, wild eyes and flared nostrils, the horse in the memorial dedicated to the South Australians who died in the Second Boer War, (11 October 1899 to 31 May 1902), clearly depicts the horrors of war; you can almost hear the animal's terrified whinny.

Adelaides boer war monument, horses, Boer War, Harry Breaker Morant, Government house
At over 7m high, the monument is considered a significant landmark
This war was the first in which South Australians fought, and over 1500 men were sent in nine contingents. They were accompanied by around 1500 horses. Nearly 60 men were killed and nearly 70 wounded, and several were awarded medals for bravery. Garlick, Sibley and Woodridge, won the competition to design the pedestal, and it is constructed from granite quarried in Murray Bridge.

The bronze plaques mounted on the pedestal sides list the names of those who died, although there are some omissions. Most notably is Harry 'Breaker' Morant who was found guilty of allegedly murdering unarmed Boer prisoners. Other omissions include those who died during in training on or their return.

Adelaides boer war monument, horses, Boer War, Harry Breaker Morant, Government house, plaque
Plaque on the pedestal memorial

The striking cast-iron South African War Memorial, stands at over 7m high and is located in front of Government house on the corner of King William Street and North Terrace. The rider is looking south west, so that the setting sun falls on his face. Apparently the rider doesn't officially represent a particular soldier, but it has been suggested his face was modelled on George Henry Goodall.

To give him his full title, Regimental Quarter Master Sergeant G.H. Goodall advised the London-based sculptor Adrian Jones, who was commissioned to make the masterpiece, on uniforms and other particulars of the South Australian Army Corps.

Adelaides boer war monument, horses, Boer War, Harry Breaker Morant, Government house, plaque
Plaque with the names of those who fell
The monument was unveiled on 6 June 1904 by the then Governor of South Australia, George Le Hunte. Funded by public donations, it cost 2500 to construct, and it was added to the national heritage listing in 1990. Now the monument considered to be one of Adelaide's significant landmarks.

As an aside, contrary to popular belief about statues of a horse and rider, the number of the horses legs in the air doesn't reveal how the rider died - it was thought both legs in the air signified the soldier died in battle, one leg in the air, they died later of wounds inflicted during a battle, and all legs on the ground, the rider had survived . According to, this 'hoof code' only really holds true for the Battle of Gettysburg equestrian statues, Pennsylvania, America, and even then, there is at least one exception.
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Where: North Terrace, Adelaide
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Well researched and presented Annie.
by Dave Walsh (score: 4|11307) 2870 days ago
Well done Annie. One interesting fact is apparently that capt Adrian jones was formerly a vet so his statue of the horse is considered more lifelike than most.
by dmott (score: 0|8) 2868 days ago
thank you dmott - and thanks for the added bit of info.
by Annie Waddington-Feather (score: 2|186) 2868 days ago
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