14th January 2021

Golden Fleece uniform swap card

Adelaide Lancers

From the back of the card: ” This trooper belongs to one of this country’s most historic units. Formerly the Adelaide Mounted Rifles, in 1886 it was redesignated The Adelaide Lancers. In 1895 the unit was absorbed into the South Australian Mounted Rifles, becoming ‘A’ Squadron. Eventually this unit became the 16th Australian Light Horse.” Cossum has no SA cavalry uniform buttons: presumably they wore the SAV or SAM buttons shown on pages 18 &19.

The history of defence forces in general, and the mounted troops in particular, in the Colony of South Australia were confusing. Hopefully the following is correct!

Along with volunteer infantry and artillery, the first cavalry, the Adelaide Mounted Rifles was formed in 1854. Confusingly, the same unit was also referred to both as the  Adelaide Volunteer Mounted Rifles and the South Australian Mounted Rifles in the newspapers. This original unit did not lasted long, disbanding in 1856 due to lack of government support I suspect.

Adelaide Times, 10th October 1854 page 2.

Other volunteer cavalry came and went. From 1866-1870 there was the South Australian Regiment of Volunteer Cavalry comprised of three troops. It was re-named in 1867:

Adelaide Observer, 1st February 1868 page 4. Various troops were named in honour of the Duke who visited South Australia in 1867.

Chronicle (Adelaide), 20th March 1930 page 42.

The Mail (Adelaide), 7th April 1934 page 1.
“An Adelaide Volunteer cavalry-man of about 1867. The jacket is scarlet with a white sash and gold braid. The trousers are black with gold stripes.”

In 1860 “a new phase of the volunteer movement” occurred:

The Sydney Morning Herald, 13th March 1860 page 2.

The Goolwa and Strathabyn cavalry formed around 1863.

Observer (Adelaide), 29th January 1910 page 29.Goolwa Cavalry trooper, 1868.

In 1877 a new Adelaide Mounted Rifles was formed. It was merged two years later with the afore mentioned Reedbeds Mounted Rifles Company. Then in 1887 (not 1886 as stated on the card) it was renamed the Adelaide Lancers, as they were now allowed to be equipped with lancers. They also had a change of uniform at this stage.

The Express and Telegraph (Adelaide), 14th July 1887 page 2.

Chronicle (Adelaide), 20th March 1930 page 51. Troopers Cooke and Franklin of the Lancers c.1888.

Australian War Memorial. 1895-1900. An officer of the Adelaide Lancers.

Formed in 1887 was the S.A. Volunteer Mounted Rifles, with independent troops scattered throughout the countryside. The Defence Act of 1895 resulted in the merging of the various cavalry. They were absorbed into the South Australian Mounted Rifles. The  “A” and “B” Squadrons of the Lancers were now known as ‘Adelaide Lancers, SA Mounted Rifles’. Approximately 2/3rds of the cavalry would volunteer to serve in South Africa. Post Federation, various Light Horse regiments were formed from the existing cavalry. By 1942 all cavalry units in the state had changed over to motor regiments.

Australian War Memorial SA Mounted Riflemen, c.1897.