Remembering the Bravery of Lance Corporal John Harry Anning Through the Hemmant Boer War Memorial

Located at the corner of Hemmant and Tingalpa Road and Boonoo Street in Hemmant, the heritage-listed Anning Monument, also known as the Hemmant Boer War Memorial, was designed and constructed by William Busby in 1903 as a testament to the courage and sacrifice of Lance Corporal John Harry Anning. 

Unveiled on 14 March 1903, by Colonel Thomas Price, the Anning Monument was a heartfelt tribute from Anning’s friends and comrades, erected with the support of public donations. Lance Corporal Anning, a local hero, served in the 5th Queensland Imperial Bushmen and tragically lost his life at the age of eighteen during the Boer War in Koffiefontein, South Africa, on 6 August 1901.

Originally situated at the junction of Lytton and Hemmant Roads, the monument was relocated in 1968 after an unfortunate collision with a car. Its significance lies in being one of the early war memorials in Queensland, predating the proliferation of such monuments following the First World War.

The Anning Monument represents more than a memorial; it offers valuable insights into the historical context of imperial and national loyalties, the craftsmanship of local stonemasons, metalworkers, and architects, as well as the prevailing popular taste of the time.

Within the vast park in Hemmant, the sandstone memorial commands attention with its commanding presence. Crafted from sandstone, it consists of a base, pedestal, and obelisk, resting on a concrete pad. Surrounding it is a chain-linked fence supported by sturdy metal posts. 

The base is a smooth step, and the pedestal is adorned with elaborate cyma recta mouldings. Notably, a striking relief carving of a trooper’s hat and bandolier graces the pedestal, adding to its artistic appeal.

Rising from the pedestal is the square pillar of the dado, showcasing recessed panels on each side. The front face proudly holds a leaded marble plaque bearing an inscription honouring Lance Corporal Anning. Above the dado, the obelisk stands tall, adorned with further inscriptions and a relief carved tasselled shroud symbolising mourning and loss. Crossed rifles, bound with cord and resting on a banner, serve as a poignant reminder of Anning’s military service, while a small crown atop a staff emphasises his bravery and loyalty.

In a city adorned with various memorials, the Anning Monument stands as a unique testament to the sacrifices made during the Boer War. Whilst Australian war memorials are significant historically, this one serves as a moving reminder of a particular period in the country’s military history. Its presence in Hemmant not only preserves the memory of Lance Corporal Anning but also provides a place for reflection and remembrance for generations to come.

Published 15-June-2023