|Anglo Boer War graves|
The Paradise Plot cemetery is one of the most easily accessible Anglo Boer War gravesites in Zimbabwe.
The Anglo-South African, or Boer War, raged from 1899 to 1902 and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) played a full part in the fighting, with the Rhodesia Regiment and the BSAP both at Mafeking and along the border of the Bechuanaland Protectorate (now Botswana) This movement of troops to the south happened only a few years after the Matabele (First Umvukela) and Mashona (first Chimurenga) uprisings of 1896-7; so due to local concerns, a number of troops from Australia and New Zealand were diverted through Beira.
The Rhodesian Field Force (RFF) as it was called under the command of Lieut.-General Sir Frederick Carrington faced tremendous logistical challenges. The railway line from Beira to Umtali had been opened on 4 February 1898, but only in 2ft gauge, and in 1900 was being converted to 3ft 6inch gauge. The railway line from Umtali to Salisbury had been built as 3ft 6inch gauge and opened on 23 May 1899; Salisbury and Bulawayo was still unconnected by rail.
The Australian and New Zealand Troops faced long delays on the train journey at Beira and Gondola (75 mile peg) and again at Vila Machado (Bamboo Creek) due to construction work on the conversion of the rail gauge. Medical facilities were very primitive in Portuguese East Africa (PEA -now Mozambique) and many soldiers caught malaria which manifested itself as fever once they arrived in the cooler Eastern Highlands of Umtali (now Mutare) and sixteen of the deaths occurred at Umtali. From there they were sent on by rail to Marandellas (now Marondera) where there were a training base and hospital.
From Marondera the soldiers travelled to Bulawayo, either by Zeederberg coach if they were officers, or by ox-wagon and foot if they were other ranks. They travelled through Fort Charter, Enkeldoorn (now Chivhu) Umvuma (now Mvuma) Iron Mine Hill, Gwelo (now Gweru) and then Bulawayo; this slower journey taking up to 25 days.
The original tented base camp at Marondera has been completely built over, but the Paradise Plot cemetery is one of the most easily accessible Anglo Boer War gravesites in Zimbabwe.
There is no evidence the grave markers are on the correct graves; see the notes below. Zimbabwe Historic Graveyards And Cemeteries