30th May 2022

N.S.W. Volunteer Rifles 1870-80

The next major impetus for change occurred with the withdrawal of British troops from the Australian colonies in 1870.

The Sydney Battalion decided to make a change from the grey, to a British-looking scarlet tunic and dark blue trousers with scarlet pipings. The shako was retained but some years later it was replaced with a white helmet.

Illustrated Sydney News, 26th October 1870 page 2.

The NSW government decided to raise its first Permanent Military Force (i.e. career/paid soldiers) consisting of two infantry companies and one artillery battery.

Image courtesy of Noble Numismatics. This is shown on Cossum page 5, and presumably was for the Permanent forces. In that case, they date from 1871-73.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 18th August 1871 page 4. The infantry uniform is described as red with white facings.

The  permanent infantry lasted little over a year as the government declined to continue funding; therefore the majority of NSW defence still in the hands of volunteers.

Image courtesy of Noble Numismatics. The button on the right shown on Cossum page 8, and is labeled as a general service button for NSW Volunteers.

Continued tomorrow.

For all comments or questions, please use the Contact page.