The Boer War was fought in two stages - from 1880-81 and from 1899-1902. The British forces, supported by British Empire forces, fought against the Dutch settlers in the Orange Free State and in the Transvaal.

British subjects had flowed into South Africa after the discovery of gold and diamonds in the 1880s. The Boers then resiled against British domination. Up to December 1899, the Boers defeated the British troops. From January 1900 to about September, the British and Empire troops won the counter-offensive and placed most regions under British control.

The Australian Colonies offered to help send troops - many of them being volunteers - to fight in the War. The first troops left in December 1899. Australians served mainly in mounted units - referred to variously as mounted rifles, bushmen or imperial bushmen.

In February 1900, 500 members of the Queensland Mounted Infantry and NSW Lancers took part in the relief of Kimberly. Altogether, 16,000 Australians fought in South Africa of whom 282 died on active service and 286 died of disease in the dreadful conditions. Six men were awarded the Victoria Cross.

The second phase of the Boer War (1899-1902) was also the first time Australian women had served in War - as nurses and later, at the end of the conflict, as teachers for the Boer women detainees and their children.

A medal was minted by the NSW Patriotic Fund on guilded bronze to present to the Australian Bushmens' Contingent as Good Luck momentos.