1900: The Khaki Girls
February 27, 2019
Back in 1900 we were in the throes of one of our periodic cycles of Honour Culture. During such cycles we tend to express ourselves with Physical Culture and, if possible, get ourselves involved in someone else’s wars.
Naturally, then, New Zealand was the first colony in the Empire to sign up for South African War. Indeed, before war was even declared! We’re let’s go get those South African Boers and give them what for!
Woman from many districts had themselves equipped and drilled to be war-ready. These forces were not put into the field but helped fight the war by strong participation in fundraising at home. Women always help the war effort by pressuring men to enlist, helping raise the profile of the war and voluntary provisions toward fighting it. This may be the only time in history that women have ever actually armed and kitted themselves in the practise of waging battles though.
I assume they would have been quite capable of dealing death although their role was kept to demonstration purposes.
Image ref. The Khaki Girls, Greymouth; Lord (1928)
Image ref. Auckland Khaki Girls Brigade; George Grey Special Collections
Ref. Women and the war: the Khaki Girls’ Brigade; Te Ara