Richard (Rick) Calitz spoke to us about his research into Australian indigenous scouts or trackers’ role in the Boer War. Rick emigrated from South Africa to Australia over 40 years ago due to his opposition to Apartheid. During his work with indigenous students as an Educational Officer in Tasmania, he was told about the story of the trackers who were sent to the Boer War at the specific request of Lord Kitchener, and, as some stories contend, were left behind in South Africa at the conclusion of the war. Rick was fascinated and has been researching this story ever since, and while the request from Kitchener is documented, further facts and details have been very hard to find in England, South Africa or Australia, as indigenous trackers at the time were not considered nor recorded as soldiers, and it is now well over a century since the conflict ended. Accordingly, Rick has been unable to find any names, numbers or transport details thus far in his research. Rick speaks about his continuing hopes for a permanent memorial to these aboriginal trackers, and he also speaks briefly about his own family connections to the Boer War.
This interview took place on 22 October 2014 in Hobart and was conducted by Professor Mick Dodson and Dr Allison Cadzow with Craig Greene as part of the Australian Research Council-funded project Serving our Country: a history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the defence of Australia.
The interview recording above is made available to be viewed here by permission of the interviewee(s), Rick Calitz. The recording may not be copied, reproduced or communicated in whole or in part without the prior permission of the interviewee(s). Requests for permission for use of this material should be made to the Serving our Country research project: our contact details.
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