|Boer War memorial kiosk, Lissner Park, Charters Towers Albums, NQ Photographic Collection, ID 11096.|
Why Charters Towers? What made the Boer War in faraway South Africa a matter of such passion to residents of “the World”- as the town was sometimes called? Joan Neal’s honours thesis and her essay “Charters Towers and the Boer War” suggest that gold – a mineral vital to the economies of both Australia and South Africa – was a vital link. Most of the capital funding the deep reef mining so important to Charters Towers came from British companies, so it was likely that the industrial and commercial sector would be aware of shared interests. Even the wage-earning miner might have felt a certain indebtedness to the nation which had helped advance the prosperity of his town.
But gold also forged more personal links. Miners formed something of an international community at this period and many miners from the Charters Towers fields had already travelled to South Africa to try their luck in the Transvaal, often leaving families and friends behind. From their letters home the people of the Towers were kept well-informed about events and conditions and would have readily sympathised with the “Uitlanders” - as the expatriate miners were termed.
|People walking past the new Boer War memorial kiosk in Lissner Park. Charters Towers Historical Photographs, NQ Photographic Collection, ID 11497.|
|Farewell to volunteers about to depart for the war. Dunn Album, NQ Photographic Collection, ID 16463.|
Story by Miniata