The South African War was Australia’s first war. Historians have insufficiently acknowledged the contribution of the New South Wales Mounted Rifles first contingent in this conflict. Unlike most Australian soldiers, the Mounted Rifles had a unique experience. Taking part in both the conventional and guerrilla phase of the war, they encountered both a familiar and unfamiliar war. After the war, they returned to a society that was largely indifferent towards them. This thesis improves our understanding of Australia’s contribution in the South African War and reveals how the antipodes were actively involved in a wider imperial network.