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Research Guides

The Boer War: Australians and the War in South Africa, 1899–1902

1. The General Collections

The general collections on the war largely consist of files and other material created by defence departments, colonial secretaries' offices and local military headquarters to record and manage the raising, administration, payment, return and repatriation of the Australian contingents. Some series also hold officers' reports and other battlefield correspondence from South Africa. Robert Collins, secretary of Victoria's defence department, became secretary of the Commonwealth defence department in 1901 and seems to have taken most of his files with him, and so Victorian and early Commonwealth material overlap in their content and time periods and must be considered together. The only other major group of general records that passed to the National Archives was that maintained by the Queensland administration. Only three general collections are not of Victorian, Queensland or Commonwealth origin. One of these consists of early Cabinet papers, another is a collection of records mostly from New South Wales while the third consists largely of material received by early governors-general. In all three of these series, records on Australians and the war form only a part.


Chapter 1
The General Collections