This memorial fountain to the fifteen Taranaki men who fell in the South African War (also known as the Second Anglo-Boer War) fought between 1899 and 1902 was unveiled on Pūkākā/Marsland Hill by Lord Islington, Governor of New Zealand, on 26 January 1911.

It was carved from Australian blue granite and decorated with floral motifs, gorgon heads and fish by New Plymouth monumental mason William Francis Short, who was also responsible for the drinking fountain in Pukekura Park and the New Zealand Wars memorial scroll at St Mary's Cathedral. The fountain stood near another memorial, created to commemorate the New Zealand Wars in the form of a member of the Armed Constabulary, which was unveiled on 7 May 1909 but smashed by protestors on Waitangi Day in 1991.

In 1979 the central column was moved from its original location to the newly-established Devon Mall pedestrian precinct. The concrete pool at its base was left in place when the fountain was moved, filled with soil and an olive tree planted inside.

The mall was demolished in 1997 and the memorial (no longer operational) was moved back to its original site the following year


Side one:

In memory of the Taranaki men who fell in the South African War 1899 -1902

Erected by the people of the district in admiration of their patriotism in volunteering to join the Motherland forces to uphold the Empire

Side two:


W.J. Goodland

L.E. Smith

W.S. Fleetwood

A.H. Blyde

L.O. Newsham

L. H. Arden

N.T. Patterson

V. Meredith

Side three:

Sergt Major S. Smith

Farrier Sergt A.W. Sisley


T.A. Hempton

C.E. Wiggins

H. Finch

J.M. Patterson

C.E Enderby

Side four:

Unveiled by His Excellency the Governor Lord Islington KCMG DSO 26th January 1911

W.F. Short New Plymouth


Of the above, Farrier-Sergt A.W. Sisley and Trooper V. Meredith are not listed in the New Zealand Nominal Rolls. Of the remaining 13 men, six died of enteric (typhoid) fever in South Africa and three of pneumonia in New Zealand.

Albert Sisley

Australian National War Memorial records show Farrier-Sergeant Albert William Sisley, #930, joined in New South Wales and served in the 2 NSW Mounted Rifles. He died on 20 January 1902.

Valentine Meredith

It appears that V. Meredith was not actually in the military (although listed as a Trooper on the New Plymouth memorials) but was employed by the Natal railways. The Hawera Star featured the following report on 29 September 1900:

Mr V. Meredith who went to the Transvaal, died of pneumonia last month. Deceased, whose parents reside at Koru (near New Plymouth) was the brother of Mr Percy Meredith, lately of the Star staff.  

and the Taranaki Herald of 12 October 1900 informed readers that 

....the late Valentine Meredith who died in August last at Ladysmith.... had volunteered for active service in South Africa, and not being accepted he went there on his own account, and while waiting for military employment he took a billet in the Natal Railway Service in which he was engaged at his death

A letter from G.S. Duane regarding his visit to Meredith’s grave at Ladysmith was printed in the Hawera Star on 12 December 1900 and mentioned the need to ask "the Railways Dept to erect a stone over the grave."



Memorials Someone Forgot by David Bruce Taranaki Daily News 7 January 2000

Council defends itself over claim that monuments are neglected by Anthony Paltridge Taranaki Daily News 8 January 2000 

Monumental task for club cleaners by Sarah Gault Taranaki Daily News 13 January 2000

Nothing memorable about attitude to city monuments Taranaki Daily News 14 January 2000

Push to move fountain to plaza by Taryn Utiger Taranaki Daily News 16 August 2012

Care about creators by Chris Cannell Taranaki Daily News 28 August 2012


Related Information


Lord Islington's Visit (Taranaki Daily News 23 January 1911)


The Troopers' Memorial (Taranaki Herald 26 January 1911)


An Omission (Taranaki Herald 31 January 1911)


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