May 182012

Family History Alphabet Challenge

31 May 2012 is the 110th anniversary of the end of the Boer War. The Treaty of Vereeniging was signed on 31 May 1902 which ended the Second Anglo-Boer war, often referred to as the Boer War (there had been a previous Boer War December 1880-March1881 which is usually not mentioned unless you had serving personnel). The Boer War was the first military action in which Australia as Australia was involved. Initially each colony sent units but some Commonwealth units were involved after Federation.

So this week being the B letter of the Family History Alphabet Challenge is doubly appropriate as I am writing about William Busby, my stonemason ancestor and how the Boer War related to his work. It related to him personally as his son George Howard Busby went to South Africa and enlisted in the Cape Mounted Rifles.

William Busby
My William Busby was a stonemason and I have spoken  about him previously.  He came from a long line of stonemasons from Coombe in Oxfordshire. He emigrated with his wife Annie and small son William to Brisbane in 1882. Tragically, young William died aboard ship.

William worked as an Inspector of Works before starting his own business as a monumental mason which he then continued until he retired.

Lieutenant Lachlan John Caskey, who was killed in action at Makari Drift, Caledon River, South Africa on 27 September 1901. He was a well known sportsman and educator and the community wanted to have a memorial to him. A design competition was held and William submitted a design along with the other prominent stonemasons in Brisbane to the committee who wished to raise the  memorial. William’s was the winning design and this was announced in the Brisbane Courier 6 December 1901. 


Caskey Memorial
A public committee raised the 70 pounds cost.

As can be seen from the finished memorial it was an artistic detailed design that showed many aspects of Caskey’s life.

Each side of the memorial showed another aspect of his life. Cricket bats, tennis rackets, football, quill pen,  crossed swords, the draped cloth

The memorial was unveiled 10 May 1902
It is the first known South African War memorial in Queensland and a model for later monuments. 

William also did the Anning memorial, another Boer War memorial at Hemmant. The Boer War memorial at Sherwood, for Sgt Robert Berry and Acting Corporal John Macfarlane.  although a similar design, we don’t believe was done by William.
Caskey Memorial

Bryce Memorial

Another Boer War memorial that William at the Toowong Cemetery did was the Bryce Memorial. I thank Hilda Maclean of Friends of Toowong Cemetery for the fantastic photos she took of this memorial for me.

A Boer War Memorial is planned for Canberra. Did you know there is a very useful database of Boer War soldiers on the site?  You are able to add information about your ancestor and there are letters and photos. You are also able to buy a Boer War Descendents medallion or an “in Memory of” medallion as a fundraiser for the memorial. You are also able to add to the database if your ancestor was fighting on the side of the Boers or was in one of the English units.

Regimental Books in Brisbane have said a new book is being written about Boer War memorials around Australia. They are asking if you know of any in your area to let them know so that it can be listed.
Bryce Memorial