Colony of Tasmania Buttons
In 1859/60 corps of volunteer cavalry, artillery and infantry were established in Hobart and Launceston. After the withdrawal of British troops, and with a lack of government commitment, nearly all volunteer forces ceased to exist.
The prospect of war with Russia in 1878 revived interest in the defence of the colony, including the revival of the Hobart artillery and the organisation of the Tasmanian Volunteer Rifle Regiment with six companies. A Launceston Light Horse existed from about 1879-87. In 1881 two companies under the name of the Northern Tasmanian Volunteer Rifle Regiment were formed, one being renamed the Launceston Volunteer Rifle regiment in 1881. In 1883 a Cadet Corps in Hobart, and a Tasmanian Torpedo Corps were formed.
In 1885 a Defence Act was passed under which the volunteers practically became a militia. A small permanent artillery and a volunteer reserve force were formed. The corps were combined into the ‘Defence Force’ and renamed; the artillery in Hobart became the Southern Tasmanian Artillery, the one in Launceston became the Launceston Artillery, the rifle regiments at Hobart the Tasmanian Rifle Regiments, whilst those at Launceston became the Launceston Rifle Regiment. An auxiliary force (volunteers who were to serve for one year only with limited training) were added in 1889.
In 1893 an Australia wide financial depression resulted in cuts to military funding, with the force soon dwindling, until improvements occurred in funding , training and moral from around 1897. Tasmanian volunteers served in South Africa. Just before Federation, Tasmanian forces consisted of 113 officers and 1,911 other ranks.
Launceston Volunteer Artillery Corps
Cossum has several version’s of this forces’ buttons on pages 25-6. I cannot confirm the dating of these, except to point out that that backmark ‘Stokes Maker’ on some date those to between 1860-1867.
In 1860 the L.V.A.T was formed from a rifle corps. They had to supply their own uniforms, paid 2/6 to join and 2/ a month expenses! One year on Queen Victoria’s birthday the volunteer’s pulled their artillery up Windmill Hill by rope as they had no horses, to fire a salute with powder they bought themselves! Members kept the unit going, even through years (1872-1878) without government assistance. ‘Volunteer’ was dropped from their name around 1886, and they continued as the Launceston Artillery until 1903, becoming part of the Australian Field Artillery.
2nd Rifles, Southern Tasmanian Volunteers
The Southern Tasmanian 2nd existed from 1861 until 1868.
Tasmanian Volunteer & Permanent Artillery.
Volunteer Staff, Medical Staff and Retired Staff