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2000/89/11 Board game, 'Called to Arms', Boer War military game, paper / cardboard, National Game Company, Victoria, Australia, 1899-1902. Click to enlarge.

'Called to Arms' board game

Board games have been a popular entertainment for adults and children since the 18th century. They typically take players on a journey from one point to another, or around a circuit. Progress is made via the throw of a dice, while the route was filled with adventures and pitfalls. Often board games have been underpinned with an educational aim whether this be moralistic, geographic or historical.

'Called to Arms' was a game that took players along a perilous route through battles and …


Object No.


Object Statement

Board game, 'Called to Arms', Boer War military game, paper / cardboard, National Game Company, Victoria, Australia, 1899-1902

Physical Description

Playing board for the game 'Called to Arms'. The outside of the board is covered with dark maroon leather look paper. Stuck on the front is a piece of paper with name: 'CALLED TO ARMS / A NEW MILITARY GAME'. The maker's trade name appears as a shield with the name 'National' written diagonally. The board opens out to reveal a numbered yellow track along which players proceed. Various incidents are described on numbered squares. Around the track are graphics depicting British or Imperial soldiers in khaki, Boer soldiers and a wounded soldier and nurse. The name 'CALLED TO ARMS / A MILIARY GAME FOR FOUR OR MORE PLAYERS' appears at the top. The spine is broken so that the board is in two parts.



310 mm


475 mm



The game was made in Victoria, Australia, by the National Game Company. The trade mark of a shield appears with the words 'REGD / NATIONAL / TRADE MARK' on the cover. It was probably made during or just after the Boer War.



Lee and Dora Chamberlain migrated to New South Wales with their 10 month old baby Ada in 1888. They settled in the Armidale area shortly after arriving and had five more children - two boys and three girls. Only the girls survived: Vere b.1897; Clare b.1900; May b.1902. The first daughter Ada married and gave birth to a boy, Ray Jopson, in 1908. She died shortly afterward and Lee and Dora brought up their grandson as the son they had never had.

In 1912 the Chamberlains bought a block of land at 63 Barney Street, Armidale and Lee built a house which they called 'Richmond' after the Surry town where Dora and Lee had married in 1886. Clare left home after she married Jim Terrill in 1927. Vere lived with her parents at 'Richmond' and remained unmarried in the family home after her father died in 1940 and her mother in 1959. Her sister Clare visited her regularly there until died aged 91 in 1989. Clare died in 1991. They left no family and the contents of Clare's house were disposed of by a family friend who passed on several items, including everything in this collection, to the donor who also befriended the sisters in their later years. He subsequently offered items to the Powerhouse Museum.


Credit Line

Gift of Bruce and Gayle Cady, 2000

Acquisition Date

19 July 2000

Cite this Object


'Called to Arms' board game 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 7 December 2021, <>


{{cite web |url= |title='Called to Arms' board game |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=7 December 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}