The 3rd contingent consisted of two squadrons of Mounted Infantry commanded by Major Dobbin. They were very frequently designated Victorian Bushmen, sometimes Australian Bushmen. The contingent arrived at Beira on the Euryalus on 12th April 1900, and formed part of the force which, under General Carrington, crossed Rhodesia and entered the Transvaal from Mafeking. A party of Victorian nursing sisters landed at Beira with the troops and accompanied them on the long journey to Mafeking.
The 3rd Victorians were associated with the 3rd West Australians, the two forming the 3rd, but sometimes called the 2nd, Regiment of Australian Bushmen. The 3rd Victorian contingent was split up, but the larger portion moved eastward from Mafeking and Zeerust with Plumer, under whom they acted, and did fine work during their term in the field.
A detachment of about 50, under Captain Ham, was dropped at Elands River, east of Zeerust, and formed a portion of the garrison which, under Colonel Hore, made a splendid defence from 4th to 16th August (see Rhodesia Regiment). About 60 of the contingent were in the force of Colonel Airey, one of those which attempted, but unsuccessfully, to push through to Hore. In Airey's engagement at Rosters River, 22nd July (see 1st NSW Bushmen), the Victorian detachment had 4 killed and 7 wounded. Ham's detachment was in September brought by rail from Mafeking to Pretoria and joined Plumer north of that town.
In Lord Roberts' telegram of 2nd November he mentioned that Paget and Plumer had had an engagement on the 1st to the south-west of the Megato Pass in the Megaliesberg. He said Plumer's mounted troops drove the Boers "from two strong positions over difficult country. The Yorkshire and Warwickshire Yeomanry, under Colonel Howard, carried one position by assault. The 3rd Imperial Bushmen, under Major Vialls, turned another position which caused the enemy to retreat precipitately". Major Vialls was an officer of the West Australians, but commanded the 3rd Bushmen. This detachment of Victorians saw an immense deal of hard fighting service under Generals Paget and Plumer. In August, September, and October they were constantly in touch with the enemy in the district north of Pretoria, and afterwards worked both north-west and north-east of the capital. They were in the hardly contested battle at Rhenoster Kop, 29th November 1900 (see 1st, 2nd, and 3rd New Zealand Contingents), in other engagements about Balmoral, and afterwards, in February 1901, in the pursuit of De Wet in Cape Colony, where they had various casualties (see 4th Victorian Contingent); and again, after the middle of March, in the district north of Pretoria.
In his despatch of 8th May 1901 Lord Kitchener, dealing with General Plumer's operations in the Eastern Transvaal in April, said "a party of the enemy driven westward by General Beatson was pursued and overtaken by a detachment from General Plumer's force under Major Vialls, 3rd Victorian Bushmen". Twenty-seven prisoners and 1000 head of cattle were taken on this occasion. As has already been stated, Major Vialls had the 3rd Victorians under his command.
A small detachment of the 3rd were in the Western Transvaal along with the 4th from August 1900 onwards.
Practically all the 3rd Australian contingents sailed for home in May 1901.