Medical haversack

Surgeon Captain Hopkins

On 12 February 1900, Boer Commandos attacked a force of Australians – mostly Victorians – under the command of Major George Eddy, atop a feature known as Pink Hill in South Africa. The Australians held on long enough to allow a neighbouring British unit to withdraw, before withdrawing from the hill themselves. Six Australians died during the battle, with another 23 wounded and twelve captured. This was part of a larger Boer attack around Rensburg, which Australians played a large role in.

Surgeon Captain William Hopkins distinguished himself by tending to the wounded under fire with the resources available to him in his medical haversack. Just over a month after the battle, Hopkins contracted enteric fever and was moved to Naauwpoort Hospital where he died on 27 March 1900.

Hopkins carried this medical haversack during his time in South Africa. The contents of the haversack are for initial first aid care, and include tourniquets and splints. Haversacks such as these were used on the front lines, with injured men then being taken back to ambulance wagons and, later, hospitals for further treatment.