Camden Remembers
Soldiers' Memorial Macarthur Park
The Sudan database is complete for now. More information and names will be added if they become available. If you have information or would like to include someone here please contact us.
Sudan, 1885-1885

Australia's involvement in the Sudan conflict was short lived. By the time the New South Wales Sudan Contingent landed at Suakin, Sudan's port in the Red Sea on 29 March 1885 the war was almost over.

In the early 1880s the British backed Egyptian regime in the Sudan was threatened by an indigenous rebellion under the leadership of Muhammed Ahmed, known to his followers as the Mahdi.

With news of the death in late January 1885 of the heroic English General Charles Gordon whose exploits were well known throughout the British Empire, the NSW government cabled London with an offer of troops which London accepted but stipulated that the contingent would be under British command.
The British government's acceptance of the contingent was received with enthusiasm by the NSW government and members of the armed forces, it was seen as a historic occasion, marking the first time that soldiers in the pay of a self governing Australian colony were to fight in an imperial war.

Volunteers for the NSW Infantry Contingent at Victoria Barracks, Sydney, shortly before the contingent's departure on 3 March 1885. NSW Infantry Sudan Contingent
The contingent, an infantry battalion of 522 men and 24 officers and an artillery battery of 212 men set sail from Sydney on 3 March 1885 amid much public fanfare, generated in part by the holiday declared to farewell the troops. The send-off was described as the most festive occasion in the colony's history.

The Australian troops saw very little action in the seven weeks before the British government decided to abandon the campaign and left only a garrison in Suakin. The troops sailed for home on 17 May and arrived in Sydney on 19 June 1885.

It was generally agreed at the time that, no matter how small the military significance of the Australian contribution to the adventure, it marked an important stage in the development of colonial self-confidence and was proof of the enduring link with Britain.

(This summary was referenced from, and photo courtesy of the Australian War Memorial whose Roll of Honour lists nine casualties from the conflict.)

The following three soldiers who served were from the Camden area.

CORNWELL, William Charles (Corporal 941)
Birth: 10 Feb 1857 in Camden NSW, Australia
Enlisted: 13 Nov 1882
Occupation: Butcher
Embarkation: 3 Mar 1885 in Sydney NSW
Return: SS Arab 23 Jun 1885 in Sydney NSW
Death: 1934 in Newtown NSW (age 77)
Unit: Artillery Colonial Military Forces (NSW Contingent)
Parents: George CORNWELL and Elizabeth BELL
Spouse: Margaret ROSE
Marriage: 1889 in Sydney NSW
Children: Mary Adelaide CORNWELL (1889-1979)
               Elizabeth I CORNWELL (1891-1900)
               James Wellington Stanley CORNWELL (1893-6 Jun 1978)

FIDDEN, Charles William (Private 330)
Birth: 6 Sep 1864 in Elderslie NSW Australia
Enlisted: 20 Feb 1885 in Sydney NSW
Occupation: Printer
Residence: 420 Riley Street Sydney NSW
Embarkation: SS Iberia 3 Mar 1885 in Sydney NSW
Return: SS Arab 23 Jun 1885 in Sydney NSW
Death: 3 Dec 1911 in Waterloo NSW (age 47)
Unit: A Company Infantry Colonial Military Forces (NSW Contingent)
Parents: James Joseph FIDDEN and Mary HILDER
Spouse: Olive Matilda THOMPSON
Marriage: 1905 in Newtown NSW
Children: Harold William FIDDEN (1906-1964)
Note: Charles also served in the Boer War 1899-1902

HILDER, Henry (Bombardier 898)
Birth: 17 Dec 1864 in Camden Park NSW, Australia
Enlisted: 11 Aug 1882
Occupation: Labourer
Embarkation: 3 Mar 1885 in Sydney NSW
Return: SS Arab 23 Jun 1885 in Sydney NSW
Death: 1935 in Summer Hill NSW (age 71)
Unit: Artillery Colonial Military Forces (NSW Contingent)
Parents: John HILDER and Elizabeth DUNK
Spouse: Caroline Harriet BARNES
Marriage: 1891 in Leichardt NSW
Children: Harry L HILDER (1892-1926)
               Lucy Rosina Grace HILDER (1898-1966)

ONSLOW Harry Hamilton (Corporal 474)
Birth: 1858 London, England
Enlisted: 23 Feb 1885 age 26 years
Occupation: Surveyor's Assistant
Embarkation: 3 Mar1885 SS Iberia
Return: SS Arab 23 June1885
Returned from Camel Corp 10 May 1885
Death: 1899
Unit: Colonial Military Forces - B Company
        Part of NSW Contingent to Sudan 1885.
Parents: Charles Hamilton ONSLOW and Mary DOuglas
Note: Harry Onslow was living at Camden Park for a period in late 1800s