McCabe Park War Memorial, Wollongong: 3

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Trooper Andrews Memorial Drinking Fountain

On 26 August 1900, Trooper Frank Andrews of “A” Company, New South Wales Imperial Bushmen, was fatally wounded by a sniper’s bullet at Ottoshoop, near Mafeking, in South Africa. This young Wollongong volunteer was the first of the Bushmen to fall in battle, and, as such, his death was sorely felt by comrades-in-arms overseas and family back home in Australia. Locally, Frank’s death marked what was perhaps the initial instance of an Illawarra son losing his life in an enemy action on foreign soil. His death, and the manner in which it was received in Wollongong, was a foretaste of things to come. The Great War of 1914-18 was just around the corner, and numerous Boer War veterans returned home horribly injured and maimed as the new century unfolded. The court-martialling and execution of the Australian soldier Breaker Morant also soured the minds of the Australian public in regards to this foreign campaign in defence of the Empire.

The Boer War took place between 1899-1902, and almost a century later – in 1991 – the death of Frank Andrews was brought to the attention of the Illawarra Historical Society when a letter was received from the then 92 year old Mrs. Olive Everard of Liverpool, New South Wales. Mrs. Everard offered to supply some reminiscences of Wollongong from the days of her youth (circa 1900-1920). Of special interest was the revelation that she was the niece of Trooper Frank Andrews – an individual fondly remembered by local historians as a result of the memorial erected in his honour during 1902. This Boer War monument was initially located in a prominent position on the corner of Crown and Kembla Streets, Wollongong, adjacent to the Town Hall. This location reflected the intensity of feeling associated with the loss of an Illawarra son, and also facilitated ease of access to the water fountain which formed an important element of the structure. The sandstone and marble monument was later moved to Wollongong’s Rest Park, off Burelli Street, and subsequently to the nearby Macabe Park, where it now sits alongside memorials to various twentieth century wars…

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