I didn't know this.
"THE FIRST SOUTH AUSTRALIAN SOLDIER TO DIE IN BATTLE
Anstey Hill is located some 18 kilometres north-east of Adelaide on the western edge of the south Mount Lofty Ranges near the
southern boundary of the Anstey Hill Recreation Park - the Lower North East Road. It commands magnificent views across the
Adelaide Plains to the city of Adelaide and the head of Gulf St Vincent. It stands at a height of 371.1 metres above sea level,
some 50 metres below a nearby un-named peak. Why was this lower peak chosen to be named as a significant topographical
feature called Anstey?
George Anstey (1841 - 1895) was an early South Australian pastoral and horticultural pioneer. He was born in London. His
parents emigrated to Tasmania in 1823. George, after helping on his father’s property, married at 24 years of age and left the
island to establish himself on the mainland. He arrived in the recently founded colony with some sheep early in 1838. By the end
of 1841 he was one of South Australia’s leading pastoralists.
In 1840 he purchased two sections of land and began to establish his Highercombe Estate which he named after his father’s
birthplace in Somerset, England. This name remains in district use today in the titles of the Highercombe Golf Club and the Old
Highercombe Hotel Folk Museum. Anstey’s property was in the vicinity of the Golf Club which is located just over the crest of the
range east of Anstey Hill Recreation Park. Highercombe Estate, with its vineyards, orchards and extensive botanical gardens
became a horticultural show-piece.
Between 1842 and 1846 Anstey constructed what was initially a private road from Grand Junction Road to his newly established
estate. This road, in reality little more than a bullock wagon and horse dray track, became known as “Anstey Hill Road”, that is
the road up the hill leading to “Anstey’s“ place. It was used for 20 years, but was never gravelled. It crossed the crest of the then
called Tea Tree Range in a saddle just north of Anstey Hill. It was later extended to Houghton and became a rival to the route up
Tea Tree Gully, creating much controversy. In 1873 a new road passing across the south-eastern slopes of the hill was built and
eventually named Lower North East Road. Its gravel surface was bituminised in 1930.
“Squire” Anstey was never a popular public figure, probably because of his tendency to behave as a typical English squire or
country gentleman. When his father died in 1851 he returned to Tasmania with his family. They returned to England in 1854.
Except for brief visits, the last in 1868, Anstey never returned to live in South Australia.
However the name Anstey was to appear once more in the annals of South Australian
history. Mortlock Library military records contain an entry that in the 22nd January 1879,
a Lieutenant Edgar Oliphant Anstey was killed in action during the Battle of Isandlwana,
South Africa and then in doing so became the first South Australian born soldier to die in
battle. The Battle of Isandlwana was the first major encounter in the Anglo - Zulu War
between the British Empire and the Zulu Kingdom and was the greatest defeat in the
Further searches of other records shows that he was the third son of George Alexander
and had been born at Highercombe on 18th March 1851. In 1873, he graduated from
the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, and was commissioned a Lieutenant in the
First Battalion, Twenty-Fourth Regiment of Foot (later known as the Second
Warwickshire Regiment, the South Wales Borderers, and the Royal Regiment of Wales).
He was attached to Captain William Mostyn's "F" Company, 1st Battalion, 24th
Regiment of Foot, and was killed in action during the disastrous engagement at
Isandlwana on January 22, 1879 in which 1,357 British Imperial, Colonial, and Native forces were massacred by the Zulus. Zulu
warriors did not take prisoners in battle, and normally ritually disembowelled their enemies. Anstey's body, however, was intact
and clothed. His body was found two days after the battle by his brother, Captain Thomas Anstey of the Royal Engineers, not far
from the place now known as The Fugitives' Trail. It’s a long way from “Anstey’s Hill Road” which he travelled down as a babe in
arms in the first and only year of his life in South Australia.
Edgar Anstey was originally buried under a cairn of stones, near where he had been killed. His remains were later repatriated
and interred in the family vault in the graveyard at the Church of St John the Baptist in Woking, Guilford, Surrey, England. Anstey
was the only soldier whose body was returned to England from the Anglo - Zulu Wars."
(Source: McLaren Vale RSL Newsletter Summer 2010 Edition)