In June 1900, the small
Elands River Post was established to guard passing British supplies
from Boer attack. On the 4th August 1900, a Boer force
surrounded the post entrapping 301 Australian and 204 Rhodesian
Fierce fighting erupted and
1,700 Boer artillery shells fired the first day killed many of the
animals within the exposed, flat compound. The British command tried
to relieve the garrison but the Boers repulsed them on 5th
August, just 2 kilometres from Elands River. Believing that sustained
resistance by the Colonials was improbable further rescue attempts
were abandoned. On the 6th August, the Boers offered
surrender terms to the Australians but they were bluntly refused.
The siege continued and the
Colonials held the perimeter despite daily sniping by the Boers.
Evidence of this continued resistance eventually reached British
Headquarters and on August 15th, a large British column was
dispatched forcing a wise Boer withdrawal the next day. Casualties
during the siege were remarkably light with 12 killed and 58 wounded
however 1000 horses and cattle were lost. Boer casualties were
This action was for
Australia the most notable event in the War because it was a
predominantly Australian force that significantly and successfully
engaged a stronger enemy.