The New South Wales Imperial Bushmen was one of a number of regiments raised in the Australian colonies in response to a request from the British government asking for "hardy bushmen" - men who could ride, shoot, and navigate in the bush. The idea was to find men who could employ the same type of guerrilla tactics as the Boer and beat them at their own game. Volunteers came from Cootamundra, Gundagai, Wagga, Young, Hay, Cooma, Moree, Cobar, Tenterfield, and Bourke. The New South Wales Imperial Bushmen was a mounted unit, consisting of six mounted rifle squadrons. Later, during its time overseas, the regiment's name was changed to the 6th Imperial Bushmen.

The bushmen left Sydney, on board the transport Armenian, on 23 April 1900. The regiment originally numbered 40 officers with 722 other ranks, and 800 horses. They were the fourth contingent sent from New South Wales to the war. During 15 months in South Africa, the regiment served in Rhodesia and in west Transvaal.

From June to August the bushmen served with the 2nd Brigade, Rhodesian Field Force; then Lieutenant General Lord Methuen's No. 2 Column, from September to December; the Mounted Brigade, under the command of the Colonel R.G. Kekowich, from December to January 1901; then finally the Mounted Brigade, under Major General J.M. Babington, from January to May 1901. During this time, from September 1900 to May 1901, the regiment's D Squadron served as Methuen's personal bodyguard.

Principal operations in which the contingent was engaged:

Relief of the Eland's River garrison: 5 August 1900
Marico River: 6 August 1900
Occupation of Ottoshop: 14 August 1900
Buffel's Hoek: 18-19 August 1900
Jacobsdal: 22 August 1900
Malmani: 27 August 1900
Wonderfontein: 10-11 September 1900
Manana and Lewerpan, where a 15-pounder and a pom-pom gun were captured from the enemy: 12 September 1900
Re-occupation of Lichtenberg: 28 September 1900
Oliphant's Nek: 5 October 1900
Magatas Pass: 10 October 1900
Riekerton: 16 October 1900
Lead Mines: 24 October 1900
Kaffir Kraal: 1 November 1900
Re-occupation of Klerksdorp: 16 November 1900
Wittepoort and Bulkop: 26-27 December 1900
Syferfontein: 5 January 1901
Occupation of Ventersorp: 10 January 1901
Klip Drift: 17 January 1901
Valkfontein: 26 January 1901
Magalisburg Valley, where a 9-pounder and a pom-pom gun were captured from the enemy: 3 March 1901
Relief of Lichtenberg: 7 March 1901
Hartebeestfontein: 20-22 March 1901
Veldfontein, where nine guns and 142 prisoners were captured: 24 March 1901
Wittepoort, where two 15-pounders were captured: 14 April 1901
Hartebeestfontein: 18 April 1901
Geduld, where a 9-pound Krupp gun was captured: 3 May 1901
Palmietfontein: 8 April 1901

The regiment returned to Australia, on board the transport Orient, on 17 July 1901.
References
  • Official records of the Australian military contingents to the war in South Africa(Melbourne : A.J. Mullett, Govt. Printer, 1911)
  • Wilcox, Craig, Australia's Boer War : the war in South Africa, 1899-1902(Melbourne : Oxford University Press, 2002)
    • CategoryUnit
      Related conflicts South Africa, 1899-1902 (Boer War)
      Battle honours South Africa 1900-1902
      Commanding officers
    • Le Mesurier, Haviland
    • Mackay, James Alexander Kenneth
      • Decorations1 CB; 4 DSO; 1 DCM
        Alternative names
        • New South Wales Imperial Bushmen
        • New South Wales Imperial Bushmen Contingent
        • New South Wales Imperial Bushmen, A Company
        • New South Wales Imperial Bushmen, B Company
        • New South Wales Imperial Bushmen, C Company
        • New South Wales Imperial Bushmen, D Company
        • New South Wales Imperial Bushmen, E Company
        • New South Wales Imperial Bushmen, F Company
        • New South Wales Imperial Bushmen, HQ
        Unit hierarchy