An Australian war correspondent in Ladysmith: The siege report of Donald Macdonald of the Melbourne Argus

Ian Van der Waag


Some one hundred years ago, South Africa was torn apart by the Second Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902). To mark this cataclysmic event, Covos-Day is publishing a series of books. The first is a facsimile of Donald Macdonald's enduring story of How we kept the flag flying through the siege of Ladysmith I and this is followed by several other titles including another Ladysmith-siege diary: one written by George Maidment, a British army orderly.2 Such a publication programme is a monumental and laudable effort. It allows both reflections upon a calamitous episode in South African history and, as is the case of How we kept the flag flying, an opportunity for the collector to acquire old titles, long-out-of-print, at reasonable prices.

Donald Macdonald was born in Melbourne, Victoria on 6 June 1859. After a short career as a teacher, he joined the Corowa Free Press and, in 1881, the Melbourne Argus. A nature writer and cricket commentator,) he arrived in South Africa on 21 October 1899, the day of the battle at Elandslaagte, as war correspondent to the Melbourne Argus. This book, How we kept the flag flying, was born from his experiences and frustrations whilst holed-up in Ladysmith throughout the 100-day siege, whilst the war raged and was reported on by journalists elsewhere.


An Australian war correspondent in Ladysmith; Donald Macdonald; Melbourne Argus; Covos-Day; How we kept the flag flying; the siege of Ladysmith; Second Anglo-Boer War; the battle at Elandslaagte; 100-day siege

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Copyright (c) 2018 Ian Van der Waag

ISSN 2224-0020 (online); ISSN 1022-8136 (print)

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