Editor's note: 'Banjo' Paterson's journalistic career began with the Boer War. On 28 October 1899 he left Sydney for South Africa on the troop transport Kent, leaving behind a successful legal career. By this time he was also a literary celebrity, his fame established by the publication of The Man from Snowy River and Other Verses in 1895. Paterson's dispatches from the Boer War for the Sydney Morning Herald and the Melbourne Argus catered to a public anxious to learn about an almost unimaginable exotic location. His observations combine a profound parochialism with an almost cynical worldliness. Here, in a dispatch published in the Herald on 28 December 1899, he records his first contact with 'the great African continent'.