Australians in the Boer War
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Hint: This site is intended as a search aid - not a definitive source. It is essentially an index to documents that seem to relate to this person plus a very brief precis of relevant elements. Sources often conflict and I also flag things with a ? when I am unsure. So if the information below is important to you, then please check the original sources to see what else they contain (and in case I have inadvertantly introduced transcription and/or precising errors). There can be additional information that was not included in the database for both space and copyright reasons.


 

Surname SAMPSON
Given Name(s) or Initial(s) Burford
Regimental Number
Rank
Unit Name British South Africa Police
State
Extracts and Comments
(from Sources as shown)

URL1: Mr. Burford SAMPSON, son of Mr. JT SAMPSON, or Taskerlyn, High Street, who has had a somewhat adventurous career in South Africa, returned on Saturday [23.3.1907], having landed by the Athenic at Hobart. During the course of an interesting interview with an "Examiner" representative yesterday, Mr. SAMPSON gave some of the impressions he formed during his residence in South Africa, and mentioned some of the other Tasmanians whom he met during his sojourn there. "In 1901 I went to South Africa, so that I have spent about six years in that country," said Mr. SAMPSON. "During the last 3.5 years I have been in Rhodesia, 120 miles back from Bulawayo, in the scattered mining districts of Gwelo, Sebarkwe and Selukwe, where the propositions are worked chiefly by tributors, with 5 and 10 stamp mills to treat the stuff put through. I was a member of the British South African Police, and had opportunities of seeing a good deal of the country. It is these small mining ventures which will ultimately save the mineral industry in South Africa, I believe, because so far the bigger propositions have nearly all been failures. "There is plenty of scope for the farming industry, but farmers there have fearful difficulties to contend against. It is something like 1500 or 1000 miles from the Cape, and about 800 miles from the Rand. The white population is very small, numbering, according to the latest statistics of three years ago, only 12,000, and so there are no local markets, the white people being scattered. Another drawback is the scarcity of stock. The country is nearly denuded of stock, and it never recovered the ill effects of the outbreak of rinderpest, which occurred in 1903. The production therefore is small, and yet Rhodesia carries over 1,000,000 natives. We had to subsist principally on tinned foods, including Victorian butter and Jones's Tasmanian jam. The Chinese have been causing some concern on the Rand, where about 47,000 were landed, and of these 1000 are missing. They are probably being harboured by their fellow-countrymen settled in the coast towns. There is, and has been, a good deal of depression but the settlers live in hopes of better days, because they anticipate that the British Government will not renew the charter of the British South Africa Company, which expires in March, 1909, and if so, good is expected to accrue. "There is a great scarcity of native labour. They won't work, but they have solved one of the problems of life. We have been told that if a man will not work neither shall he eat, but the natives make their wives support them, and so the only way to make them turn their hand to labour is to put a stop to polygamy. "Whilst in Rhodesia I visited the Victoria Falls, and witnessed that wonderful bridge over the Zambesi River, which is one of the world's greatest engineering feats. The falls are larger than those at Niagara, and they certainly are imposing, the water tumbling down for 430ft. and being a mile wide. It is a beautiful sight. There is an island above the falls which I visited. It is accessible by oil launch, and a Nabobo hobo tree growing in the centre is enclosed in an iron railing. It is about 5ft. in girth, and 6Oft. high, and is notable from the fact that it bears the initials of David LIVINGSTONE, the great explorer, who carved them himself. A railway has been pushed ahead 90 miles north of Victoria Falls, as far as Broken Hill, where a large copper mine is located. "There is talk of harnessing electricity to the falls, which are claimed to have a capacity sufficient to supply power to the Rand mines and serve a district of some 600 or 700 miles. "I met young ST. HILL, son of Colonel ST. HILL, in North-Western Rhodesia, where he is employed in the Civil Service. I also was pleased to come across Mick BOND, formerly of Launceston, who had just had a miraculous escape from a tragic death. He was engaged in the Globe and Phoenix gold mine, in the village of Sebarkwe, and was coming up the skid in company with a native. The mine is 1500ft. deep, and when they got to 1200ft. a sharp storm was experienced. A flash of lightning ran down the shaft, electrocuted the native, and almost paralysed young BOND, who suffered from the shock for some time. "The climate of Rhodesia is very trying, especially to those whose avocations keep them out of doors. There are only the dry and the wet seasons, and the latter is dangerous to European life. Last April I was stricken with malarial fever, which is a common enemy, and I nearly passed out. I was laid up some weeks, and became very reduced, so that I decided to come home before the wet season began this year. "A friend of mine and I saw some Tasmanian apples offered for sale in Bulawayo. They looked genuine, and we entered with the intention of buying a case, but found the price prohibitive, as they were selling at 1s per apple. I saw Australian butter, meat and fruit at Capetown, including a lot of Tasmanian jam and tinned fruit, which are procurable all over the Transvaal. "Rhodesia is a hunter's paradise. Of big game there are elephants, hippo., rhinos., giraffe, zebras, eland, sable, roan antelopes, lions, and leopards in numbers, and the koodoo, a beautiful horned animal. On the hills baboons abound. It is not safe to bathe in the small creeks because of the presence of crocodiles. Small game may be shot by paying a license fee of 1 a year and large game, except elephants and rhinos which are protected, for 10 season. The wild ostrich is also protected to a certain extent. One is not allowed to hunt or pursue it without a special permit from the Administrator. The Central Estate Company, which owns 30 square miles of country on the Sebarkwe River, uses the young birds for farming purposes. For the shotgun there are all sorts of birds available, and particularly quail, pheasants, and guinea fowl. Men of title and wealth from England go over to Rhodesia and spend two or three months in the year shooting game. "The lions are very troublesome, so that the Government pays 2 10s per head for them. The transport riders frequently lose one or two donkeys, at ox or a mule, and the best way to guard against these depredations when camped at night is to erect a thorn bush fence about 10 or 12 feet high around the stopping place, and get the natives to collect the dry grass and brushwood, so as to make a huge fire. The flare acts as a deterrent on the king of beasts, and keeps him at a respectful distance. "Opportunities were afforded me of chatting with several Dutchmen in Vryberg, Mafeking and other places on political matters. They regard the action of the British Government in giving South Africa self-government as an experiment, and are content to await the development of events. They say that things cannot be worse than they have been of late, and they may be better. They believe the Het Volk Government will encourage the agricultural and pastoral interests and it may be relied upon to frame a sensible and just policy with regard to the natives. The Dutchmen believe in treating them fairly, but they are stern with them and make them remember that right along the line the coloured man is inferior to the white man. These Dutchmen I spoke to were very excited when they heard Louis BOTHA was forming a Ministry. "At the same time, the mining magnates and capitalists view the proposition with some alarm, and are down-hearted about it. Still, many of the British residents seem to think it may be all for the best, and they also are prepared, like the Dutch, for future developments before voicing any fears they may have in any strenuous way. The mining magnates don't cave whether the Transvaal becomes a howling wilderness so long us they can extract as much gold as possible in the shortest period. They care nothing for the future of the country or the making of a nation. After all, the future of South Africa depends largely on its agricultural and pastoral pursuits. "The war denuded the country of sheep, cattle, and other stock, and farmers were unable to do anything with the remnants of their flocks and herds. They turned their attention to Australia, where they noticed the samples of wool were of superior quality, and that prices could be maintained. Thus they became keen on improving their sheep, and they sent out here for Merinoes. Those they saw in Tasmania and on the mainland fairly astonished them and they purchased some for distribution amongst the Dutchmen in Cape Colony, the Transvaal and especially in Orange River Colony. "Nearly every year there is a scare or a rebellion on the part of the native races, but there will not, I think, be an other Matabele rising, because since the tribes were broken up they have not the power. The natives however, become more troublesome, because of the representatives in South Africa of the American Ethiopian Church, who preach equality of coloured and white races, with a leaning towards the former being the better of the two. It was these people who were mainly responsible for last year's Zulu rebellion. "In Rhlodesia there are some remarkably fine ruins, which no one knows who built. At Zimbabwe wonderful old temples and other buildings are going to decay. Some of the learned professors attribute their origin to the Phoenecians and think that great supplles of gold used in the building of Solomon's temple cane from there; in fact, that Rhodesia is the Ophir mentioned in the Bible. Others think the ruins are places of more recent times, because they are built of stones and bricks, the latter being especially well made. About 90 miles due est of Gwelo there are several remains of old stone forts, strongholds of the ancients when they were engaged in gold mining. At Zimbabwe in 1893 about 300oz of refined gold was found in one of the temples by COLENBRANDER, who commanded Kitchener's Fighting Scouts during the war. Nearly all the mines of Rhodesia at the present time bear traces of ancient workings, but none go down deeper than about 100ft. How the gold was extracted fromt the quartz remains an absolute mystery. "The Rhodesian Australasian Association has proven of great assistance to those who come from Australia and New Zealeand by keeping them in touch with each other. At Bulawayo they have a reading-room, where all the leading Australian newspapers can be seen. There was always a file of the "Weekly Courier," of Launceston, and it was a great source of pleasure to members who admired the pictures, even if they were not Tasmanians. There I met a young man named PAGE, of Hobart, also a Mr. LUTTRELL, of Hobart. They have meetings for debate once a fortnight at the association rooms, and members encourage Australasian unity literature. songs and pastimes, as well as work for the mutual benefit and assistance of any deserving Australasian in search for employment, or in alleviating distress through no fault of his own. Nearly every Australian was a member of a volunteer corps, or rifle club, and they were really good shots. "Before going to Rhodesia, I spent 12 months in Orange River Colony, and was formerly a member of Baden Powell's police, afterwards being engaged in the Criminal Investigation Department stationed at Bloemfontein. "Returning in the Athenic was Vincent LEGGE, another son of Colonel LEGGE than the one I previously mentioned. At Capetown I met Bob GUTHRIE, formerly at Salisbury's foundry. He is now employed at Bagnall and Co.'s, a large leather warehouse. I was travelling for five days and five nights in a railway train coming from Gwelo to Capetown. They were corridor cars, with dining saloons on board." Mr. SAMPSON would like to remain in Tasmania, but he been offered a position as second mate on a pearling schooner, which is probably trading in the Dutch Archipelago, and he may accept it. If so his stay here will only be of short duration.
URL2: ?SAMPSON B South African Constabulary.
URL4: Mr TW MALONEY was next called upon to make a few remarks in reference to the [19.12.1902] ceremony of unveiling the tablet [commemorating Launceston High School old boys who served in S. Africa], which he explained had been erected by the past and present scholars in honor of those old school-fellows who had served in the South African war. He referred at some length to the splendid part played in the war by the different colonies and the way in which Tasmania had responded to the call. He showed how prominent the High School 'old boys' had been, giving personal details concerning some of them, and stating that not a contingent left Tasmania without the High School being represented in it, and many of them sought service independent of the Tasmanian contingents. He considered that the record of the school was one which would not only compare with, but eclipse those of other schools when the respective conditions were given consideration to. ... In conclusion, on behalf of the present and past boys he requested the Chairman to unveil the tablet. The Chairman, the company standing then pulled the cord which held the Union Jack which covered the tablet, and the ceremony concluded with the singing of 'God Save the King.' During the ceremony, the military forces were represented by Lieutenant Colonel MARTIN and Captain HERITAGE. ... The tablet is of marble, with gilt lettering, and is nicely designed. A medallion at the top, in the centre of the scroll work, bears a circular inscription. 'Timor Domini Principium Sapientiae,' inside of which are the words, 'Launceston High School.' The portion bearing the names is divided into two parts, over the centre appearing the words, 'Brito-Boer war, 1899-1902,' and on one side 'Pro Rege,' and on the other side 'Pro Patria.' The names are inscribed in parallel columns underneath, and at the bottom is the legend, 'Erected by past and present scholars in honor of those old boys who fought in the above war.' The following is a list of the 'old boys' whose names are inscribed on the tablet - Lieut. FB HERITAGE, Tasmanian Contingent; R WACKSMUTH, local corps; H TARLTON, local corps; Surg.-Lieut. JF BARNARD, Surgeon FJG WILSON, Sergeant AE HUNT, 2nd Tasmanian Imperial Bushmen; Trooper WA CONNELL, Australian Commonwealth Horse; Private PB DEANE, Imperial Light Infantry; Trooper C FRENCH, 2nd Tasmanian Imperial Bushmen; Trooper BD FARRAR, 7th New Zealand Mounted Rifles; Trooper H GREER, 2nd Tasmanian Imperial Bushmen; Trooper G HALL, Tasmanian Contingent; Trooper H MADDOX, Tasmanian Contingent; Trooper CL MADDOX, 2nd Tasmanian Imperial Bushmen; Trooper F SMITH, Tasmanian Contingent; Private C Styant BROWNE, Australian Commonwealth Horse; Private B SAMPSON, South African Constabulary; Trooper FH WARNER, Thorneycroft's Mounted Infantry; Trooper A WACKSMUTH, local corps; Trooper WJ WHITE, 2nd Tasmanian Imperial Bushmen; Trooper E WHITE, Australian Commonwealth Horse; Trooper F WHITE, Australian Commonwealth Horse.
Source References
Launc. Exam.: Launceston Examiner newspaper date(s) 25.3.1907
Launc. Tele.: Launceston Daily Telegraph newspaper date(s) 20.12.1902
External Link URL1nla.gov.au/nla.news-article45806605
External Link URL2angloboerwar.com/name-search
External Link URL3angloboerwar.com/name-search?option=com_content&view=article&id=2004
External Link URL4nla.gov.au/nla.news-article153977470


Please email me if you can contribute any other relevant information about this person (eg any other military service, where in Australia they came from or when/where they died). Also, if you find an external link broken.


Apology: For some time now it has been difficult to keep up with the newly available sources (especially the Trove newspaper site) plus the flow of contributions and queries. So I have been forced to prioritise maintenance and data entry over replying to correspondence. Nevertheless, your contributions are being added to the database and acknowledged on the contributions page and, although my replies are many months behind, I will attempt to get to them more often.
 
Colin Roe
Canberra

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