3rd South Australian Bushmen's Contingent

About This Unit


Like similar Corps elsewhere, the cost of this Contingent was defrayed, by subscriptions from the citizens; a Committee being formed for administrative purposes, but the enrolment and organization being carried on by the military authorities. Men were required to be good riders and expert shots, and to be familiar with the ordinary conditions of bush life.

Establishment.—1 captain, 3 subalterns, 1 medical officer, 1 veterinary officer, 1 sergeant-major, 1 quartermaster-sergeant, 4 sergeants, 1 farrier-sergeant, 8 corporals, 6 lance-corporals, 1 corporal trumpeter, 1 corporal cook, 1 saddler, 69 privates. Total, 6 officers, 93 of other ranks.
For pay, uniform, &c, vide p. 342.

Departure and Return

The Contingent left 27th February, 1900, comprising—6 officers and 93 other ranks, with 100 horses. Five died or were killed; 1 N.C.O. was promoted to a commission. Number struck off in South Africa not known.


Lieutenant A. E. Collins, to Captain, 16th October, 1900.
Sergeant-Major J. I. Dempsey, to Lieutenant, 16th October, 1900.
For promotions of N.C.O.'s and men, vide nominal, roll.


The Bushmen's Contingent embarked in the transport Maplemore, which steamed from Port Adelaide on 27th February, 1900, and called at Fremantle to pick up the Western Australian Bushmen. Disembarked at Beira, 1st April.

This squadron participated in operations in Western Transvaal from June, 1900, to April, 1901, under Lord Methuen, " No. 1 " Division. If formed part of General Carrington's force, which crossed Rhodesia and entered the Transvaal from about Mafeking.

Between 4th July and 9th August, the squadron was patrolling the Marico and working towards Eland's River district. On the 9th, they retired to Mafeking with General Carrington.

On the 13th, they were in a skirmish, and next day in a fight at Buffel's Hoek. On the 15th, the squadron was made part of a composite regiment of Bushmen with " D" Squadron New South Wales 1st Mounted Rifles, Captain Poison's squadron 5th New Zealanders, and the 3rd Tasmanians.
For a long time the Regiment did excellent work in the Western Transvaal, as part of Lord Methuen's division. At Buffel's Hoek there was fighting, and they sustained casualties. For the second time they were in action at Ottoehoop on 12th September, when Captain S. G. Hubbe was killed; and there were other losses.

At Lichtenberg on the 26th, there were again casualties. Lieutenant Collins, who had been wounded near Ottoshoop on 6th August, but had recovered and rejoined, took command with the rank of captain. Throughout the latter part of 1900, and the first quarter of 1901, the composite regiment was in many engagements, chiefly in the Western Transvaal, and also north of the Orange River Colony; and losses were frequent, the enemy being alert and ably led.

At Uitralskop, 3rd February, the squadron lost one man; and Lieutenant Dempsey and others were wounded. At a very severely contested action near Rietfontein, 16th February, Captain Collins was wounded for the second time; besides one other man.

Lord Methuen, in a letter to the Secretary of the Bushmen's Committee, South Australia, written after the departure of the Contingent, expressed praise for the "splendid work performed by the"squadron," their cheerfulness in hardship, and their discipline. "I cannot conceive any body of men of whom a commander has greater reason to be proud," he wrote. The squadron embarked at Cape Town on the transport Moray»hire, 29th April, 1901, and arrived at Adelaide about 26th June.

War Services and Honours

Hubbe, Captain S. G.—Operations in Western Transvaal between June and 12th September, 1900. Despatches, London Gazette, 16th April, 1901. Killed in action at Ottoshoop, 12th September, 1900.

Collins, Captain А. Б.—Operations in Transvaal, Orange River Colony, and Rhodesia. Twice wounded. Despatches, London Gazette, 16th April, 1901. D.S.O. Queen's Medal with six clasps. He subsequently commanded "C" squadron, 4th Australian Commonwealth Horse.

Ives, Lieutenant 0. M.—Operations' in Cape Colony, Orange River Colony, Transvaal, and Rhodesia. Despatches, London Gazette, 16th April, 1901. D.S.O. Queen's Medal with five clasps.

Arnot, Lieutenant W. 0.—Operations as stated. Queen's Medal with clasps.

Dempsey, Lieutenant J. I.—Operations as stated. Wounded at Uitralskop. Despatches, London Gazette, 16th April, 1901. Queen's Medal with five clasps.

Douglas, Lieutenant (Medical Staff) F. J.—Operations as stated. Queen's Medal with five clasps.

Burns, Veterinary Lieutenant J. L.—Operations in Cape Colony. Queen's Medal with one clasp.

Exract from - Official Records of the Australian Military Contingents to the War in South Africa,compiled and edited in 1911 by Lieutenant-Colonel P.L. Murray, R.A.A. (Ret.). pp, 352 - 353