Ōamaru South African War memorial

Ōamaru South African War memorial

Oamaru memorial detail Oamaru memorial detail

The Ōamaru South African War memorial in November 2008.

The South African War Memorial (or 'Boer War', to most locals) was unveiled in Thames Street, Ōamaru, by Governor Lord Plunket on 2 February 1905. Many young North Otago men had volunteered to fight for the Empire, and Ōamaru had shipped thousands of tonnes of grain to the Cape to sustain the imperial army's horses.

Local solicitor, climber and explorer, William G. Grave, raised most of the 1,700 pounds needed to build the memorial by cycling around North Otago, extracting donations from virtually every household and claiming just five shillings for expenses. 'Trooper Jack', the soldier atop the monument, is based on North Otago man David Mickle Jack, and was carved by the Italian sculpter Carlo Bergamini. The foundation is concrete, the base is Port Chalmers bluestone, and the rest is granite and marble sourced from Europe.

In 2008 the memorial was dismantled, shifted 40 metres south and turned around 180 degrees to face north as part of a major road realignment to improve traffic safety. The photographs taken in November 2008 showed it nearing the end of that process, with both Trooper Jack and the imperial lion showing the benefits of cleaning and restoration. (See Street View at end of this page for how the memorial looks today).

The memorial is registered as a Category II historic place by Heritage New Zealand.

The memorial in c1986

These images show the memorial in it's original position.

Oamaru memorial Oamaru memorial detail Oamaru memorial detail

These images were taken in the late 1980s. In 2008 the memorial was moved south about 40 metres and turned 180 degrees so that the statue of Trooper Jack at the top and the recumbent lion at its base now face north.

Jock Phillips, c.1986.

See also: historic image of this memorial (Te Papa) 

Community contributions

No comments have been posted about Ōamaru South African War memorial

What do you know?