Place Africa: South Africa, Transvaal
Accession Number ART92197
Collection type Art
Measurement framed: 71 x 96.7 cm; unframed: 51 x 76.4 cm
Object type Painting
Physical description oil on canvas
Maker Kelly, Winifred Ethelwyn (Winnie)
Place made Australia: South Australia, Adelaide
Date made 1901
Conflict South Africa, 1899-1902 (Boer War)

Item copyright: Copyright expired - public domain

Public Domain Mark This item is in the Public Domain


Nelson, Newfoundland pet dog for the 1st Contingent to the Boer War, lying in front of a bell tent in the Transvaal, two horses in the left distance. His collar has RHA (Royal Horses Artillery) and insignia stamped on it. Nelson was taken with his owner, Private Arthur Edge, with the 1st Contingent in 1899. The Contingent left Port Adelaide for South Africa on 2 November 1899 returning to South Australia on 30 November 1900. On their return Nelson was quarantined from mid-December. In September 1901 Nelson was lent to the National Memorial Committee by Mr G J F Parsons touring the Northern Districts until mid-December 1900 to mid-June 1901. Nelson became the 1st Contingent's regimental mascot. Lance-Corporal W Rust, a member of the first South Australian Transvaal contingent, wrote: 'Nelson has been in the thickest of the fighting, and has also experienced the novelty of being a prisoner of war in the hands of the Boers. He was captured on 13 February, but on 5 March escaped. We were on the tramp when he returned. McWilliams, of the West Australians, and our Sergeant Laycock found him returning in the direction of Colesberg, and escorted him back to the company. Needless to relate, Nelson received an ovation from his 'comrades-in-arms'. We have learnt to love the noble animal, and his absence put a dampener on us all. Our company was offered 50 pounds for Nelson at De Aar, but as money would not buy him, the liberal offer was politely refused. The Colesberg people said the Boers held our pet as a great prize, and decorated him with the colors of the Orange Free State, but he discarded their old rag for the dear old Union Jack. He richly deserves a war medal after displaying such intense loyalty to England'.