1952 Soudan Contingent Memorial Plaque


Author: Patrick Bourke

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On 11 July 1952, the Townsville Daily Bulletin reported that on Saturday 21 June 1952 a memorial plaque was unveiled by the General Officer Commanding Officer Eastern Command

The plaque was placed on the wall of the cliff at the Tarpeian Way, near the junction of East Circular Quay and Macquarie Street, Sydney, at 3.30pm in the presence of a large gathering of citizens.

The memorial plaque commemorated the NSW Soudan Contingent who, in 1885, embarked close to this area. The Royal Australian Historical Society arranged the unveiling of the memorial plaque. 

The memorial plaque had been prepared through a bequest by Mr Thomas Gunning of Mosman, Sydney, who died two years prior. Mr Gunning, who had left money for the memorial, was an Englishman who settled in Australia at an early age. He served with Australian units in the South Africa War (1899-1902) and during World War I (1914-18).

The newspaper pointed out that the spelling of "Soudan" was the spelling used at the time of the departure of the military contingent in 1885. This spelling was retained on the memorial plaque in preference to the present day spelling - "Sudan". 

The newspaper noted the following information about the officials at the unveiling of the memorial plaque:

* Lieut-General T H Berryman G.O. C. O. Eastern Command at Victoria Barracks, is the lineal successor to Colonel John Soame Richardson, who held the rank of Military Commandant in NSW in 1885 and was in command of the Soudan Contingent.

* Major-General the Reverend C A Osborne, who dedicated the memorial plaque after its unveiling on 21 June, served with distinction as a combatant officer in India and other battle fronts. 

* Major the Honorable C E Martin, the Attorney-General of NSW, who addressed the gathering after the unveiling and dedication, is the lineal successor of the Honorable William Bede Dalley. As Attorney- General of NSW in 1885, Dalley offered soldiers to assist in the maintenance of British interests in the Sudan as soon as he received information of the murder of General Gordon at Khartum on 26 January 1885. (During that period the Attorney-General of NSW was the acting Premier during the absence of his leader, but this rule does not exist today).


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