The full title of this publications is: 'The Australian Contingent: A History of the Patriotic Movement in New South Wales and an Account of the Despatch of Troops to the Assistance of the Imperial Forces in the Soudan'.
This is a small but important work. It tells the story of the Australia (New South Wales) Contingent in the Soudan War from March to June 1885. The contingent, an infantry battalion of 522 men and 24 officers and an artillery battery of 212 men, was ready to sail on 3 March 1885. It left Sydney amid much public fanfare. Support was not, however, universal, and many viewed the proceedings with indifference or even hostility. The nationalist Bulletin ridiculed the contingent both before and after its return. Meetings intended to launch a patriotic fund and endorse the government's action were poorly attended in many working-class suburbs, and many of those who turned up voted against the fund. In some country centers there was a significant anti-war response, while miners in rural districts were said to be in 'fierce opposition'.
The contingent arrived back in Sydney on 19 June. They were expecting to land at Port Jackson and were surprised to disembark at the quarantine station on North Head near Manly as a precaution against disease. One man died of typhoid there before the contingent was released. Five days after their arrival in Sydney the contingent, dressed in their khaki uniforms, marched through the city to a reception at Victoria Barracks where they stood in pouring rain as a number of public figures, including the Governor, Lord Loftus, the Premier, and the commandant of the contingent, Colonel Richardson, gave speeches. It was generally agreed at the time that, no matter how small the military significance of the Australian contribution to the adventure, it marked an important stage in the development of colonial self-confidence and was proof of the enduring link with Britain.
Also in this publication is a listing of 'Subscriptions to the Patriotic Fund'. This gives personal and business names, and the amount paid to support the fund by each contributor.
Originally produced by Archive CD Books Australia in 2003, this title has now been remastered and re-released, and includes better searching capability. This CD contains high quality scanned images of the whole of the original book, and has been bookmarked for easy navigation. Pages can be searched, browsed, enlarged and printed out if required.
The First Act
'Australia in Arms'
The Public Voice
The World's Approval
The Sanction of Parliament
Mr Dalley in the Country
In the Soudan
The Arrival and Welcome
Appendix A. The Representative Speeches
Appendix B. Sir Edward Strickland's Letter
Appendix C. List of the Contingent
Appendix D. A Letter from Sir Henry Parkes
Appendix E. The Record of the Campaign, vide 'Sydney Morning Herald'
Appendix F. The Imperial Parliament, and the Colonial Troops in the Soudan
Appendix G. Subscriptions to the Patriotic Fund