While classified as a Boer War Memorial by the tourist authorities this is not actually a memorial. Rather it is a plaque on the wharf adjacent to the Port Adelaide Lighthouse, maarking the point from which the first contingent of South Australian Infantry boarded the PS Yatala, for subsequent transfer to the troopship Medic, as they set out for South Africa on 31 October 1899. The plaque was placed here in 1999 to commemorate the commencement of the Boer War one hundred years earlier in 1899.
In all nine contingents, comprising some 1531 South Australians served in the second South African War (more commonly referred to as the Boer War) between Dutch-Afrikaner (Boer) settlers and Britain and her colonies, (11 October 1899 to 31 May 1902). Six of these contingents sailed from Port Adelaide. An almost equal number of horses accompanied the infantry soldiers to South Africa. While at least 59 South Australians lost their lives in the War no horses returned to Australia and only a handful went on to live their lives in post Boer War South Africa.
The South African War Memorial (Boer War Memorial) on North Terrace in Adelaide (picture 2), unveiled on 6 June 1904, commemorates South Australians who fought in the Boer War, It was the first war in which South Australians fought overseas. I have prepared a separate review on the North Terrace Boer War Memorial.
The Yatala (picture 3), an iron paddle steamer, was built by Blackwood & Gordon in Castle Yard , Glasgow in 1877 for the Adelaide Steam Tug Company and operated out of Port Adelaide until it was sold in 1911 to a Melbourne organisation which converted it into a three masted topsail schooner. It was renamed the Thurka (picture 4) and continued operations until it was wrecked off Tasmania on 8 June 1919. Its full crew was rescued with no loss of life.
Pictures 3 and 4 attached are Copyright © The Clyde Maritime Research Trust
Address: Wharf at the end of Commercial Road
Directions: About 20 metres from the Port Adelaide Lighthouse