The South African War: Trying Again
This is the first of two chapters looking at coverage of the South African War. It introduces the significance of the war in imperial and colonial narratives, and the importance of the media and journalists at this time. It discusses attempts to secure an Australian identity at a time of imperial alarm and describes the opportunity this panic provided for the Australian colonies, fighting together overseas on the verge of national federation, to make a further case for their imperial value. By contrast to the time of the Waikato War, British papers largely complemented the colonial view. Here, the colonies had progressed from being imperial dependents to proven partners. Following the disastrous defeats of ‘Black Week’ the efforts of the colonies were seen to console British readers. However, the same transnational press system that circulated this joyous news equally allowed for dissenting ideas to be read by British readers, and overheard by colonial observers.