After a sumptuous breakfast we headed toward Maggersfontein, the site of the only black week battle where Australian uniforms were worn. The 29 New South Wales Lancers (NSWL) protected guns of the Royal Horse Artillery (RHA). A mandatory stop for filter coffee at the on-site restaurant with its collection of contemporary photos was followed by a short walk to the relief map situated in an eyrie from which the battlefield could be surveyed. We were able to pick out General Wauchope’s grave and the line of Boer trenches that effectively held back Lord Methuen. On to the museum, we were able to marvel at the exhibits and experience an audio visual re-creation of the battle from a simulated bunker.
A hike up the stony track to the highland memorial followed. There we were able to identify the hillock occupied by the RHA that the NSWL helped defend. The final site visited on Maggersfontein hill was the Boer gun position complete with a replica gun; this time but a few braved another stony climb.
Another cuppa and a kilometre walk back to the bus. Our route to Kimberley was via the eastern road, taking us past the magnificent Memorial to the Boers who lost there lives here and following the route French would have taken to relieve Kimberley (albeit a tad to the west of the line French would actually have taken).
Lunch was a real South African affair at a roadside restaurant; delights such as biltong went down a treat.
In the afternoon we visited the McGregor Museum with the rooms Cecil Rhodes occupied, a collection of siege artefacts, community historic exhibitions and the museum of the Kimberley Regiment.
Then as the light started to fade, we explored the cemetery finding the granite plinth engraved with the names of those brave Queenslanders who at nearby Sunnyside were the first Australians to die in battle. To show they are not forgotten, we said the ode and observed a few moments’ silence.
Another great evening meal. Tomorrow is a rest day for tour guests to explore Kimberley at leisure.