4th January 2022

J. K. Cossum, in his book “Buttons of the Defence Forces in Australia” shares images of some very rare buttons. There one on the left below is another I crave!

Victorian Volunteer Service

Two versions are shown on Cossum page 9, both dated c.1875.


Backmark: Stokes Maker, Melbourne

Backmark: Smith & Wright Birmn









The motto “Aut Pace, Victoria, Aut Bello” may have been suggested by Major General Edward Macarthur, when he was Acting Victorian Governor* in 1856, as it was included on medallions made in Sydney for him to bestow.

After he reviewed the Victorian Volunteer Rifles as commander-in-chief of British forces in Australia on new Year’s day, 1860 he wrote:

The Argus (Melbourne), 3rd January 1860, page 5.

The button, on the left above, has this motto in full as well as the bugle of volunteer rifles, so it may date from 1860. Supporting this theory is the backmark ‘Stokes Maker Melbourne’,which predates the partnership of ‘Stokes & Martin’ started around 1867.

The other button may date from around 1870 when the British regiments left Australia and local defence forces took over full responsibility. This button has the shortened motto “Aut Pace Aut Bello”, which was first mentioned in 1867 as the nom de plum of a soldier writing to the Ballarat Advertiser.

*The second Victorian Governor, Charles Hotham, had died in December 1855.  Major General Edward Macarthur filled in until Henry Barkly arrived on Christmas day, 1856.

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