Sudan 1885: The call for jihad is not new


Sudan 1885
Australian Army Campaigns Series – 15
By Michael Tyquin 

Published by Big Sky Publishing
RRP $19.99 in paperback
ISBN:   9781922132994

A few days ago I posted on my blog about the book ‘To Kokoda’ which was no.14 in the Campaigns Series. Looking deeper into my review bookshelf, I discovered I had no.15 on hand, which takes us further back in history, this time to the involvement of an Australian colonial military force in Britain’s Egyptian campaigns between 1883 and 1885.

This was a very short involvement. Consequently its influence on those campaigns was insignificant. Nevertheless, our involvement in the Sudan in 1885 is part of Australia’s military history.

This book provides the context for Australia’s involvement in the Sudan, and follows operations chronologically.

The call in the 1880s for jihad or ‘holy war’ by Sudanese leaders shows us that some of our current global challenges are not new, nor, might I add, are some of the challenges to establish safe, secure nations in certain regions.

Author Michael Tyquin describes the New South Wales decision to deploy a small force to the other side of the world in 1885 as a ‘milestone in Australia’s military history’. The conflict in the Sudan afforded an opportunity to demonstrate colonial maturity to an imperial audience across the globe. Despite other Australian colonies wanting to make a military contribution, only New South Wales actually deployed any troops. It did so because it had the largest and best organised defence force, and was led by a very opportunist politician.

I think the Royal United Services Institute of Victoria Library summed it up nicely, in their assessment of this book: “It is most refreshing to encounter such a concise, well-researched and informative account presented in this most attractive and readable format.” They could have added ‘affordable’ to their praise.

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