30th October 2020

Victorian Volunteers part 3: 1884 – 1901

Mounted Corps

Confusingly, mounted corps have existed in many forms, including Yeomanry Corps, Cavalry, Mounted Rifles, Mounted Artillery, Mounted Infantry, Light Horse and Heavy Horse. At one extreme, the Cavalry fought off horse back, at the other, mounted infantry rode to battle then dismounted and fought like infantry, but there was overlap of the various troops and their fighting tactics.

After the disbanding of the Prince of Wales Volunteer Light Horse in late 1883, other troops took their place within a year.

Victorian Horse Artillery

See Cossum page 15 and 16.

According to the Australian War Memorial, in 1884 a Nordenfelt (Rupertswood) battery was raised at Sunbury. In 1889 it had a name change to the Victorian Horse Artillery and split into two parts, one at Werribee and the other at Rupertswood. The Werribee chapter folded in 1893, and Rupertswood in 1897.

The Australasian (Melbourne), 22nd July 1893 page 29. The Victorian Horse Artillery competing at the Royal Military Tournament in 1893 in Dublin.

Museums Victoria:  https://collections.museumsvictoria.com.au/items/383880
Full dress jacket showing the ball buttons with the Victorian Military Forces design. Gunner’s jacket. Officers had  gold trim.

From the back of the card: ‘This artillery originated from the old “Rupertswood Battery”. in 1889 it was converted and designated the Victorian Horse Artillery. The battery was wholly maintained by Mr. Chirnside and the Hon. Sir William Clarke. Uniforms were based on those of the Royal Horse Artillery.’

Victorian Cavalry Regiment

See Cossum page 16.

This regiment  existed from 1885-92. The “A” troop was from Sandhurst (Bendigo), but there were also a Dingee and a Heathcote Troop. They were disbanded on 27th June 1892 due to falling numbers and disinterest.

The Bendigo Independent, 16th January 1891 page 4.


Victorian Mounted Rifles

See also http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/uncategorized/13th-august-2020/


The Victorian Mounted Rifles was raised from members of rifle clubs throughout country Victoria in 1885. Members had to supply their own horse and saddle, but the government provided rifles, accoutrements and gear. Part of their uniform was the (now) famous slouch hat. They were poorly paid. The buttons were the universal pattern Victorian Military Forces type. The 2nd and the 5th Victorian Mounted Rifle contingents served in the 2nd Boer War.

Victorian Military Forces 1879-1892. Similar to the universal NSW pattern, but with a star instead of a lion in the centre. The motto was adopted in 1875  ‘Aut Pace Aut Bello’ (In Peace and In War). This changed in 1891 to ‘Pro Deo Et Patria’ (For God and Fatherland).

By 1903 the VMR and various other groups became the Australian Light Horse in Victoria. Memory of this regiment was preserved within an armoured regiment, the 8th/13th, that has since been merged into the 4th/19th Light Horse. See http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/uncategorized/13th-august-2020/

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