Boer War revisited
By PETER CATON
CABARITA Beach resident Dave George spent more than three years researching a subject far away in time and distance from the Tweed.
He has produced a pictorial history of the Boer War - a battle fought more than a century ago in South Africa.
"It's been a passion for many years," Mr George said yesterday, thrilled with the success of the first print-run of the book which has almost sold out at $56.50 a copy, plus postage.
"I came from a military orientated family. Four generations served in the military and the book is actually dedicated to my granddads, one of whom fought in the Boer War."
Mr George's research unearthed an amazing fact of military history - backed by scores of photos.
"Very few people realise that many of the Australian soldiers copied the Boer custom and carved their own names, units and battles etc. onto the stocks of their service rifles," he said. "This could constitute a court-martial offence in today's army."
His book "Carvings from the Veldt" features photos of 40 rifle stocks carved by Australian and New Zealand soldiers.
In all it has 320 photos, 310 of them colour, and individual service histories of Australian soldiers.
The first Boer War, in which the British were thrashed, was from 1880 to 1881 between British colonies in South Africa and two Boer colonies of settlers from Dutch, German and French origin. The main war, 1899 to 1902, followed discovery of gold in one of the Boer areas around Johannesburg.
"The Boer War was the first big conflict for Australia. We sent 16,500 troops and more soldiers died in South Africa than did in Vietnam."
Mr George self-published his book last December with an initial print run of 250. With only five left he has arranged another print.
With the help of an internet-savvy friend he has established a website (www.boerwarcarvings.bravehost.com) and can be contacted by email on email@example.com