Boer War Transvaal Contingent
This actuality footage was taken by the official photographer of the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Frederick Charles Wills, and his assistant, Henry William Mobsby in 1899. Crowds line the streets to watch the First Queensland Cavalry Contingent parade just before it departs for the Boer War in South Africa.
Summary by Elizabeth Taggert - Speers
Wills and Mobsby used a Lumière Cinematographe to capture the action from a static viewpoint above Queen Street in Brisbane.
Over 16,000 Australian troops volunteered and served in the Boer War which began in 1899. Australia’s contribution not only showed allegiance to the British Empire but also helped to build and promote a new national identity only two years before Federation.
The legend of Lieutenant ‘Breaker’ Morant, Lieutenant Handcock and Lieutenant George Witton, made famous from Bruce Beresford’s Breaker Morant (1979) occurred during the Boer War. They were arrested and tried in a court martial for shooting Boer prisoners.
Boer War Transvaal Contingent synopsis
This piece of actuality footage shot by the official photographer of the Queensland Department of Agriculture, Frederick Charles Wills, and his assistant Henry William Mobsby in 1899 records part of the parade of the First Queensland Cavalry Contingent before they departed for the Boer War in South Africa.
This actuality footage was filmed using a Lumiere Cinematographe, a camera which combined the functions of a moving image camera, printer and projector. The camera was hand-cranked and therefore not dependent on electricity, making it relatively portable.
It is one of only three films that capture the departure of the Queensland contingents for the Boer War; and, according to film historian Chris Long, the only one known to have survived.
Notes by Elizabeth Taggert - Speers