Military History Tours On Tour - Boer War 112th Anniversary Tour to South Africa 31 May 2014
Boer War Day 2014. A full day exploring the delights of Pretoria.
We started at President Kruger’s house, now part of South Africa’s Ditsong Museum group. You would have to say the house was of modest scale for a President. Noneless the house was a meticulous reflection of what it would have been during the Boer War. The outbuildings exhibited a set of priceless artefacts from the time with panels that told the life story of himself and his family. In the yard there was his personal railway carriage complete with kitchen, bedroom, conference room and balcony.
A short bus-ride and we walked through Church Square complete with its monument and surrounded by buildings of a bygone era. Morning coffee was had at a pub on the square.
Then on to Melrose House and our Boer War Day ceremony. This we held in brilliant sunshine on the stoop. A message from the Governor General was read. This was followed by Boer War descendent medallion presentations to Neil Mangels whose grandfather Trooper George Douglas served with the Scottish Horse and the Fifth Australian Commonwealth Horse; and Peter Hill whose great uncle was killed at Oliphant’s River on 26 April 1901 whilst serving with the Fifth Queensland Imperial Bushmen. Boer War supporters medallions were then presented to Graham Moss and Keith Harris. All were thanked, as part of the purchase price of each medallion goes to fund for construction of a National Boer War Memorial in ANZAC Parade Canberra.
We then explored Melrose House, Kitchener’s HQ in 1901/2 and where the peace treaty was signed. Finally there was a group photo at the rear of the building, the very place where Kitchener and his staff were captured on film.
A visit to the Union Buildings was followed by lunch stop at Harry’s Pancakes. An excellent repast.
The afternoon was spent at the Voortrekker Monument where we were treated to Dorothy Bolt’s in-depth knowledge of the exhibits. The presentation and standard of maintenance were breathtaking.
As the sun faded we returned to our hotel anxious to find out if tonight we were to be treated to a buffet or an a la carte meal.