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Sudan

1885

Authors: Michael Tyquin
01/Feb/2015
Military; campaign series
188
Paperback
247mm x 175mm
9781922132994
$19.99

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The involvement of an Australian colonial military force in Britain’s Egyptian campaigns between 1883 and 1885 was very short, extending for only five months overall, including the pre-deployment phase. Consequently its influence on those campaigns was insignificant. Nevertheless, our involvement in the Sudan in 1885 is part of Australia’s military history. This book provides the context for Australia’s involvement in the Sudan, and follows operations chronologically. The call in the 1880s for jihad or ‘holy war’ by Sudanese leaders shows us that some of our current global challenges are not new.

Sending the contingent has been seen as the first important expression of colonial commitment to the imperial cause in the nineteenth century. In Australia, politicians were alive to their own colonies coming-of-age, and the conflict in the Sudan afforded an opportunity to demonstrate colonial maturity to an imperial audience across the globe. Despite other Australian colonies wanting to make a military contribution, only New South Wales actually deployed any troops. It did so because it had the largest and best organised defence force, and was led by a very opportunist politician.

However one looks at it, Britain’s experience in the Sudan in the 1880s comprised political indecision, expensive deployments and military defeats, followed by the withdrawal of Egyptian and imperial forces. British arms would not secure a victory there until 1898.

The deployment to the Sudan represents Australia’s first real military engagement aboard. It helped set the precedent for the Australian colonies’ role, attitudes and engagement in the second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902) and the Boxer Rebellion of 1900.

Michael Tyquin

Michael Tyquin

Doctor Michael Tyquin is a consulting historian based in Tasmania. He has published extensively in the areas of Australian social, medical and military history. He is a serving member of the Australian Army Reserve which he joined as a medical assistant with the 4/19th Prince of Wales Light Horse. He is the official historian of […]

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