With the declaration of war between the Boers and British in October 1899, countries within the Commonwealth offered assistance to Britain out of loyalty for their Motherland. Prime Minister Barton of Australia had said, “The Empire is one nation, and if so much as a quarter is attacked, so is another.” Three countries that are best remembered for their participation in the war are Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
7,000 to 8,000 Canadian troops were sent to South Africa and 16 nurses served. 200 to 300 Canadians died during the skirmishes. The Australian troops that were sent totaled 16,175 and eight New Zealand Contingents were sent.
The Garden of Remembrance, situated at the Maccauvlei Golf Course, is the final resting place for seventy-four Canadian, Australian and New Zealand soldiers who died in the Vereeniging/Meyerton District during the Anglo-Boer War. These soldiers were initially buried at Klip River, Meyerton, Vereeniging and Engelbrechtsdrift and were reburied at Maccauvlei.
An interesting grave at the site is of Lieutenant Robert McKeich who was a member of the 2nd Brigade of the New Zealand Contingent. He was killed at Nitnengt, near Vereeniging, on June 4th 1902. Lieutenant McKiech was the last officer killed in the war, as peace had been declared on 31 May 1902.
Mr. HF Oppenheimer officially opened the Garden of Remembrance on 12 March 1961.