Pre-Federation

Before 1870, Australian defence was the responsibility of small British garrisons quartered in the larger towns whose primary purpose up to 1852 was guarding convicts. As time progressed political developments in Europe prompted rumours of war and of attacks on Australia,
encouraging the formation of local infantry companies and artillery batteries from 1801. Such forces came and went as a response to perceived threats and it was only the removal of the British regiments in 1870 that prompted the growth of local defence forces.
Across Australia the colonies raised small detachments of ‘permanent’ soldiers to
replace the British regulars. On Imperial advice, the ‘volunteer’ systems that had
spontaneously grown in the colonies were generally replaced from 1883 by ‘militia’ forces, that received payment for their part time service.
Contents hide

British

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http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/uncategorized/26th-october-2020/

http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/uncategorized/26th-october-2020/

http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/uncategorized/10th-november-2020/

http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/uncategorized/11th-november-2020/

 

Army Medical Staff Corps

Hobson & Sons Lexington St. London W. According to Cossum c.1855.

This button, with Queen Victoria’s cypher and crown, is from the British Army. The Medical Staff Corps was first raised in 1855, only to be renamed Army Hospital Corps in 1857 then re-re named the Medical Staff Corps in 1884. Until 1870 the various British troops in Australian were cared for by regimental surgeons and colonial surgeons. The first regular Australian Army surgeon was Dr W. J. Bedford, appointed in 1871. The above button, if it was worn in Australia, would date 1855-1870.

http://australianmilitarymedicalcollective.weebly.com/army-medical.html

The Port Macquarie Museum has a fine example of Royal Army Medical Staff c.1830. The buttons have a William IV cypher but a similar design. See https://ehive.com/collections/3977/port-macquarie-museum

New South Wales Marines

The first troops sent to Australia were the New South Wales Marines, established in England as a volunteer unit of the British Royal Navy in 1786. They guarded the convicts on the First Fleet from May 1787 to January 1788 then provided law and order enforcement as well as defence at Port Jackson and Norfolk Island. Inducements to volunteer included a 2 guinea payment and the option of  discharge after 3 years duty in the colony. Some histories describe them as honorable and hard working, who along with the convicts suffered hardship and privation. However, a  Wikipedia entry claims “The marines had a habit of getting drunk and not guarding the convicts properly, whilst their commander, Major Robert Ross drove (Captain Arthur) Phillip to despair with his arrogant and lazy attitude.”

Image thanks to Vanessa Pike Russell https://www.flickr.com/photos/25056484@N00/1240349386

Their uniform consisted of red, long-tailed doublet with white trousers, black headdress,shoes and garters. The buttons were  standard “Fouled Anchor” of the Royal Marines. Unfortunately, Royal Marine buttons have been varied both over time and between manufacturers.

From the Royal Museums Greenwich collection. Fouled Anchor button on 1774 uniform.

From the Royal Museums Greenwich collection. This is a button on a uniform dating from November 1787. The NSW Marine Corps had already sailed, so may have sported the other button.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_South_Wales_Marine_Corps

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Fleet

https://guides.slv.vic.gov.au/colonialforces/imperialforces

https://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/71227.html

New South Wales Corps.

The New South Wales Corps (a.k.a. the Rum Corps) was formed in England in 1789 as three companies, and relieved the NSW Marines over the period of 1790-1792. The quality of the men was patchy as this was an unpopular posting. A fourth company was formed from marines choosing to remain in the colony. The Regiment was stationed in NSW until 1810.  They were lead by Major Francis Grose, who had arrived in 1792 to relieve Captain Phillip as Lieutenant-Governor of the colony.

Grose introduced military rule and made changes to favour officers of the Corps, including land grants and rum trading. The misuse of power and wealth that resulted is infamous, including the Rum Rebellion against Governor Bligh, and was not brought under control until Lachlan Macquarie became Governor on 1810. However, they were effective in controlling  the rebelling convicts of the 1804 battle of Vinegar Hill.

1808 cartoon of the arrest of Bligh by members of the Rum Corps.

Truth (Brisbane), 4th July 1909 page 11. From an article about “Old Sydney”.

In 1809 they were renamed the 102nd Regiment of Foot, and the bulk of the troops recalled to England. Some remained, absorbed into Macquarie’s 73rd Regiment, and some were formed into a veteran and invalids troop. Some retired officers remained as farmers in NSW.

An officer’s shoulder plate. As the designation “102nd” only dates from 1809, these date from after the regiment returned home. Courtesy Royal Army Museum https://collection.nam.ac.uk/detail.php?q=searchType%3Dsimple%26resultsDisplay%3Dlist%26simpleText%3DNew%2Bsouth%2Bwales&pos=4&total=19&page=1&acc=1979-02-87-1

Miniature in the State Library of NSW collection: Officer of the NSW Corps, William Cox. Note the plain buttons.

William Lincoln from a British reproduction uniforms manufacturer kindly shared knowledge and these diagrams with me (original source unknown).  They are pewter buttons dug up in Tasmania including plain examples and those marked for the 73rd Regiment of Foot who were stationed there from 1810-1814.

“Brass cone shank button. A flat undecorated disk, 17mm diameter, 1mm thick, with the remains of a copper wire shank soldered in place of a central boss.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_South_Wales_Corps

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rum_Rebellion

 

 

12th (Suffolk) Regiment of Foot

Backmark: Jennens & Co. London

The Sun (Sydney), 13th October 1949 page 34.

Victoria Barracks in Sydney was built for the accommodation of British troops such as the 12th  Regiment of Foot. They were in Sydney until called to New Zealand in 1860 to take part in the Maori Wars. A deployment of this regiment in Victoria was involved in the infamous battle at the Eureka Stockade rebellion in 1854. They were also deployed to Tasmania, Queensland and Swan River (West Australia). The regiment left Australia in 1866.

14th (2nd Battalion Buckingham) Regiment of Foot

P. Tait & Co, Limerick (Thanks to Noble Numismatics). This button may not date from the deployment in Australia.

The 14th regiment of Foot arrived in Hobart from New Zealand on the 31st October 1866. They Served in Adelaide, Hobart, Melbourne before leaving in 1870.

For their time in New Zealand, see  https://collection.pukeariki.com/persons/12202   (Note there are a couple of typos in the article i.e. 1961 and 1968 instead of 1861 and 1868.)

21st Regiment of Foot (Royal North British Fusiliers)

From Pintrest, source unknown c.1812, but probably similar to that used in the 1830s.

 This regiment served in New South Wales, Western Australia and South Australia between 1833-1839. They then left for Madras, India.

The Sydney Herald, 13th December 1832 page 2.

 Published in the Mirror (Perth), 19th March 1938 page 11. Oh dear.

39th (Dorsetshire) Regiment of Foot

The regiment arrived in New South Wales late in 1825. In 1826 a detachment  under Major Ralph Darling was sent from NSW with a party of convicts to establish a penal colony where Albany is now situated, before the French could claim the area.

They also served in Hobart and Swan River (Perth) and Bathhurst before leaving for India in July 1832. The most famous member of this Regiment to serve in Australia was Captain Charles Sturt.

State Library SA image B6847. Capt. Sturt c.1850.

Image from Pintrest, no origin or date supplied.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

40th (2nd Somersetshire) Regiment of Foot

Backmark: Firmin’s Ld London

Small detachments were sent to New South Wales to relieve the 48th Regiment via convict ships in 1823. They also served in Van Diemen’s Land, were they were involved in hostilities against the aboriginal people. In 1828-9 the regiment left for Bombay.

In 1853 they returned to Australia and were quartered in Melbourne for the furnishing of companies to protect the goldfields.  Some companies of the 12th and 40th regiments were sent to Ballarat in early December 1854 to suppress the miner’s rebellion at Eureka Stockade on the morning of 3 December 1854. In 1860 they went to fight in the Maori Wars.

Battle of the Eureka Stockade. J. B. Henderson [1854] Watercolour

Photographs printed between 1940 and 1950 from originals between 1850 and 1900. From Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs, State Library of Victoria.

50th Regiment of Foot ( West Kent or Queen’s Own): 1833-1841 and 1866-1869

Backmark: Jennens & Co. London. This button probably dates from the 1860s

This regiment served in NSW, Tasmania, and Norfolk Island during this deployment. Two companies left Sydney for New Zealand on a short term mission to rescue some settlers.

The Australian (Sydney), 4th November 1833. They arrived in December with more following later.

The Tasmanian (Hobart Town), 31st January 1834 page 6.

They left for India in 1841. Some of the families of the 50th were shipwrecked on route to India, and rescued in a “wretched condition.”

State Library NSW: Lieutenant Grimes of the 50th Regiment, 1840.

The regiment returned in 1866, having served in Ceylon then New Zealand, and were stationed in New South Wales, Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland before leaving for England.

Australian War Memorial image #A04590. An officer of the 50th, 1866-69.

For their time in New Zealand:  http://ellott-postalhistorian.com/articles/50th-Regiment-In-NZ.pdf

63rd (West Suffolks) Regiment of Foot

In 1829 Captain James Stirling and a party of English colonists settled in Swan River as the site of the new colony. A detachment of the 63rd West Suffolks was sent to guard the new capital. This regiment had arrived in Sydney from 1828 and also served in Hobart. It left for India in February-March 1833.

From Pinterest: Labelled as a pre-1855 example.

The West Australian (Perth), 5th June 1951 page 2. Soldiers wearing the uniform of the 63rd Regiment at the Foundation Day ceremony.

From 1829 detachments of many of the regiments serving in NSW would serve in Swan River, starting with the 2nd/40th Regiment.

65th (2nd Yorkshire, North Riding) Regiment of Foot

No backmark.

This regiment brought convicts to Tasmania and Norfolk Isaland in 1846 and 1849. They soon went  onto New Zealand, where they served until  September 1865.  Four hundred men accepted their discharge, and remained in Auckland.

A member of the 65th Regiment in New Zealand.

For more about the 65th in New Zealand, see  https://hicketypip.tripod.com/history.htm

73rd (Royal Highlanders) Regiment of Foot

Thanks to Noble Numismatics. Note that the 73rd does not feature in Cossum’s book. From 1780 until 1809 it was known as the  73rd (Highland) Regiment of Foot.

From 1786 until 1809 this regiment was known as the  73rd (Highland) Regiment of Foot, which would explain the thistle on the button. They  lost Highland status around the time of the start of the journey to Sydney.  They were to take over from the 102nd (NSW) Corps, who had been involved in the Rum Rebellion leading to the deposing of Governor Bligh.

Arriving in the Harbour on the 28th December, the 1st Battalion of the 73rd Regiment landed in Sydney on the 1st January 1810 with Governor and Lady Macquarie. (Note a detachment had arrived on an earlier ship in August 1809.) It relieved in 102nd Regiment (NSW Corps) but some of these men were drafted into the 73rd. They are remembered for clearing land at what is now Hyde Park for the first horse racing course in Australia, and running the first race in October 1810!  They also built new roads. Their tour of duty ended in 1814 then they left for Ceylon.

Example of pewter buttons unearthed in Tasmania.

The 77th (East Middlesex Regiment) of Foot

Two ships bearing the 77th arrived in Sydney Harbour 0n 27th September 1857. However, they were not here long, leaving Sydney  for Calcutta in April 1858. It was felt there was need for troops in India, and that “the great majority of the troops in NSW are not required here”.

In there short stay in Sydney, there was some reports of drunkiness and theft, and problems with the local police:

State Library NSW # IE1141695 Painting of two officers of the 77th Foot at Hyde Park, Sydney. 1858.

 

96th Regiment of Foot (Manchester)

Thanks to Noble Numismatics

 This regiment served in New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia between 1839-1848, then travelling on to India. A detachment  had been sent to New Zealand in 1845-6.

The Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser, 9th December 1839 page 2. However, most of the regiment arrived from 1840-41.

New South Wales

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http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/uncategorized/12th-november-2020/

1st Australian Volunteer Horse (NSW)

backmark: Hopson & Sons 1,3& 5 Lexington (a misspelling of Hobson).

 

The 1st Australian Volunteer Horse were gazetted in NSW on the 1st August, 1897.

The Australian Star (Sydney), 6th August 1897 page 5.

This cavalry served during the Boer War and was the source for a number of recruits for the new Australian Flying Corps during World War 1.

The Scone Advocate (NSW), 24th October 1899 page 2.

1st Regiment of  New South Wales Rifles

Australian War Memorial. No makers mark. 1854-1859

Apart from short lived volunteer associations in 1804-9 that help quell the Irish convict rebellion, this was the first government enacted Volunteer Force, developed in 1854. It was intended to be used in case of internal insurrection or foreign invasion, as the size of the British garrisons were limited, and included a cavalry in a scarlet uniform, artillery in blue and infantry in dark green. The first infantry was briefly known as the Sydney Volunteer Rifles. The original uniform consisted of a dark green frock coat and trousers with black velvet facings and shoulder straps, a forage cap, with the numeral 1 and a bugle as a badge. It performed guard duty at the Sydney mint, and occasional ceremonial duties.

1857: Officers of the Sydney Volunteer Rifle Corps. (from ‘The Australian picture pleasure book.” in the National Library.

 

Duke of Edinburgh’s Highland Brigade

The Scottish Regiment was given permission to adopt the Duke’s title, after their service to him on his tour of the colonies in 1867-8.  They were the first regiment in Australia to wear the kilt (Black Watch tartan). The Duke was the second son of Queen Victoria, and served as a naval captain.

State Library of Victoria collection, 1867.

The dimensions along the axes are 26 x 28mm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Empire (Sydney), 16th October 1868 page 1.

This full dress uniform was adopted in May 1870. A picture of the uniform button is seen on page 5 of J. K. Cossum’s book “Buttons of the Defence Forces in Australia”.The Australian War Memorial has an example of a sporran from the full Highland uniform adopted in 1870. Dwindling numbers led to its disbanding in 1878.  A new Scottish Regiment formed in NSW in 1885 in response to the Sudan War. This regiment existed until 1912 when existing units were absorbed into the new Citizen’s Army.)

New South Wales Artillery

Thanks to Noble Numismatics: NSW Artillery 1870-80 by Smith Kemp & Wright, Birmm

Library NSW IE3320792: Sergeant Major of the NSW Volunteer Artillery c.1879.

New South Wales Military Forces: 1876-1902

According to the AWM, this General Service button (1870-1880) was sewn onto a volunteers 1887 era tunic, but was removed and replaced with an appropriate silver button, as only permanent and partially paid (Militia) members wore gold coloured buttons and lace. Volunteers wore silver (white metal).

 

 

 

 

 

In 1876 the emblem of the New South wales Military Forces was declared; “a lion passant guardant  on a cross  between 4 stars of 8 points”  with a Queen’s (Victoria) crown. The actual button may date from 1880.

In 1885 the New South Wales offered help to the British in Egypt after the death of the hero, General Gordon, and this help was accepted by the British. It was the first Australian Contingent to serve overseas. The flashy uniforms were replaced by safer and more practical khaki uniforms when they arrived in Egypt. The badge on the helmet carries the same design as the universal design of the The NSW Defence Forces, that of a British Lion on a St George Cross embossed with the stars of the Southern Cross. After a limited amount of action, the campaign was abandoned and the forces brought home after only a couple of months and disbanded.

Stokes & Martin Melb. The 5 point star is a design error.

Made by C.Anderson, Sydney. This button has the correct 8 point star.

A NSW Military uniform badge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“A member of Australia’s first overseas expeditionary force sent to Egypt to assist the British forces in an attempt to recapture Khartoum. The contingent of some 734 volunteers, including 522 infantry, left Sydney on March 3, 1885. for the Sudan. They saw little action and returned on June 18 of the same year.”

“The N.S.W. Artillery made its mark in history when, in 1885, 212 artillery men and six cannon embarked with the Sudan contingent. This officer’s uniform of suede cloth, with gold badge, button, and other apparel, designate him as being a permanent soldier, or regular. Volunteers wore silver badges and buttons.”

On the back of the card: “Undoubtedly the oldest cavalry regiment in Australia, the N.S.W. Lancers was formed in 1885 and named the Sydney Light Horse. The title was changed in 1894 to N.S.W. Lancer Regiment, and this was one of the first to serve in the Boer War. The Regiment also was service in World War I and World War II.”

New South Wales Mounted Rifles

The first regiment was formed in 1888 as the New South Wales Mounted Infantry, and renamed in 1893. Several regiments would serve in the  Second Boer War. Post war it became a Light Horse Regiment. After multiple renamings and reorganisings, it was disbanded and merged into the new Royal NSW Regiment in 1956.

Paramatta Woollen Mills: courtesy Australian Militaria Sales.

The Paramatta Woollen Mills and C. Anderson both made these buttons.  For interest I have included below a newspaper report of C.Anderson and the Mills both winning a tender for military uniforms, including for the Mounted Rifles.

The Cumberland Argus and Fruit Growers Advocate (Parramatta) 15th February 1902 page 4.

New South Wales Naval Brigade/ Naval Artillery Volunteers

Royal Museum Greenwich: NSW Naval brigade button by Firminhttps://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/78143.html

There was a naval force of one ship, the HMCS Spitfire, from 1854-1859.

The lack of any sea-going ships was not enough to deter volunteers joining the new NSW Naval Brigade in 1863. It was not until the late 1870s that two ships were constructed in Sydney. However, they did have the use of the non-seaworthy HMS Woverine from 1882-1892 as a training ship upon Sydney Harbour.

Photo from Wikipedia.

The artillery of the NSW contingent of the NSW Naval Brigade  went to Tientsin in China in July 1900 to help the British suppress the Boxer Rebellion, along with those from Victoria and South Australia.

Australian War Memorial collection #306822. Group portrait 1900, Sydney, of the NSW Naval Brigade contingent to the Boxer Rebellion

There existed a “duplicate” force of Naval Artillery Volunteers from 1884 until 1901 when it was disbanded. They had also used the Woverine for training.  A newspaper article claimed there was “a great deal of friendly rivalry between the two forces.”

Thanks to Noble Numismatics: Naval Artillery Volunteers c.1890 by W.Jones & Co, 7 Golden Square London.

Australian war memorial collection: P02233.001
An officer (in white) and men of the NSW Naval Artillery Volunteers wearing standard Royal Navy uniforms.

New South Wales Volunteers

Thanks to Noble Numismatics.  2 versions of the General Service button of the NSW Volunteers 1870-1880.

The New South Wales Military Forces were created in 1870 after the withdrawal of British forces from the colony. Colonial uniforms followed the style of the British, including the helmets and red and blue uniforms.

“N.S.W. formed its Naval Brigade in 1861. In 1900 the N.S.W. and Victorian Governments sent Naval Brigade contingents to China to help quell the Boxer Rebellion. This rating is fully equiped for that expedition. In 1901 Australia became a Commonwalth, and naval forces, like the military, came under Federal control.”

Queensland

Her Majesty’s Queensland Navy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See  https://www.gayundah.info/

Australian War memorial image #P0044.129. Crew of H.M.Q.S. in 1898.

The H.M.S. Spitfire was a wooden gun boat, launched around 1855, the first warship built in Sydney, Australia. It was presented to Queensland in 1859 as a gift for its separation into a independent colony. However, it was not considered necessary for the colony to have a naval service at that time.

The Queenslander, 4th November 1882 page 616. A sarcastic report about the start of the naval brigade.

The Queenslander (Brisbane), 28th February 1885 page 325,

The Queensland Maritime Defence Forces was initiated in 1883. The gunships Paluma and Guyundah (aboriginal for Thunder and Lightening) arrived in the colony in 1885 to patrol Queensland’s coast. After Federation they were integrated into the Royal Australian Navy. Guyundah was beached in 1958 at Picnic Point as a breakwater.

Queensland’s  fleet grew to be second only in size to Victoria’s. At Federation the naval forces numbers about 750, with 250 cadets.

 

The Queenslander, 7th February 1929 page 35. Clock wise from top: HMQS Gayunda in 1899.  Gunboat Paluma aground during floods in 1893. Steam Innace midge in 1890s. Gayunda as a gravel hulk in 1929.

Queensland Defence Forces

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From the Australian War Memorial Collection. Made by Hobson and Sons, London c 1885-1901.

The Defence Act of 1884 stated that the Government would now be providing a uniform. A small permanent force was raised in March 1885 with the new uniforms finally ready in March 1885.

 

Queensland Permanent Artillery

Thanks to Noble Numismatics. Queensland Permanent Artillery 1885-1901.

Staff Sergeant Gorman of the Permanent Artillery. Nice props for the photo, especially the conch shell in the pot plant!

In common with other colonies at that time, a Defence Act was passed in 1884, then a permanent artillery established in Queensland in 1885. In 1899-1900 the name was changed to the Queensland Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery.

 

Queensland Rifle’s  (Volunteers) button

The crown used on button on the left is Prince Albert’s Crown, the Guelphic Crown of the Dukes of the House of Hanover.

It was on the advise of Colonel French in 1884 that standard new uniforms in khaki were introduced with new buttons  struck bearing the word ‘Queensland’ . “The Royal artillery buttons can be used for the batteries here, but in the event of the Imperial Authorities not having general service buttons (VR under a crown) it will be necessary to have a die made and buttons struck off for the other corps.”

See Cossum page 22. 1902-3

This button dates from the short period between King Edward VII adopting the ‘Tudor’ crown and the amalgamation of the separate colonial forces into a Federal service. The separate  forces  existed up to 1911 in the State of Queensland. After 1903 a button with Edward VII cypher replaced this one.

A photo in the State Library of Queensland collection shows the earlier VR type button of the Queensland Volunteers (see Cossum page 23).

Lieut. Dowse, Queensland Volunteer Rifles , 1889. He is wearing an older style VR button.

 

Queensland Scottish Volunteer Corps

Backmark: H.W. Martin London. 1885-1897.

In 1885 a Queensland Scottish Rifle Volunteers corps was established in Brisbane. By 1888 their strength was 335 of all ranks. Their full dress uniform was the same as that worn by the Gordon Highlanders (Her Majesty’s 92nd).

The Brisbane Courier, 16th May 1885 page 5.

The Queensland Figaro, January 1889. A member of the Queensland Scottish Rifles.

Australian war memorial
#REL/18360.001

By 1896 the corps had dwindled. It was briefly revived in 1897.

“Undoubtedly the Queensland Scottish Regiment was one of the most colourful of the Australian Pre-Federation Scottish regiments, the white Soudan spiked helmet and scarlet tunic giving it a very distinctive look. The officer illustrated is of the 1886 period, although the Soudan-type hemet was worm until 1905.”

“When Queensland became a state in 1859 it organised infantry, artillery, engineers and mounted rifle regiments, supported by a small naval force. Volunteer contingents of Imperial Bushmen and Mounted Rifles from Queensland fought in the Boer War. This soldier is a gunner of the Queensland permanent artillery.”

South Australia

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Her Majesty’s Colonial Navy

Her Majesty’s Colonial Navy (South Australia) c.1899. See Cossum page 55.

See http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/uncategorized/16th-november-2020/

South Australian Militia Scottish Company

SA Militia Forces Scottish Company.

The first Scottish Company, the no.2 Adelaide Rifles, was formed in 1866. The next was the  Scottish Company of the S.A.M.F from 1899-1903, then renamed the SA Scottish Infantry until 1912.

The Mail (Adelaide), 28th July 1934 page 1.A corporal in the Scottish Corps c.1903.

South Australian Rifles/Volunteers

SAV:  Shierlaw & Co Adelaide 1877-1880

Thanks to Noble Numismatics.According to Cossum page 19; the SA Volunteers, c.1860-70. Note the SAV uniforms were not provided until late in 1861.

From November 1854, the history of infantry in the colony of South Australia was quite convoluted, with volunteer forces being repeated raised, merged and disbanded. From the Diggers History web site ” The constant raising and disbanding of Militia Forces in the early colonial days, was a direct result of the citizen’s reaction to direct threats to their security. Their numbers rose and fell as these threats were realized and then subsided.”

The first reference to a Rifle corps appears in 1854:

South Australian Register, 10th November 1854 page 3.

 

The Mail (Adelaide), 7th April 1934 page 1.

“By 1890 the South Australian Government had organised a very efficient military force. The uniform had changed from the early days and was modelled on the lines of the British line regiments of the time, except that the colour was khaki. Martini-Henry rifles were issued to all non-commissioned ranks.”

Tasmania

2nd Rifles, Southern Tasmanian Volunteers

Thanks to Noble Numismatics: 2nd Tasmanian Rifles by Firmin & Sons

The Mercury (Hobart), 7th February 1862 page 2. This rifle corps may not have lasted for long.

The Southern Tasmanian 2nd existed from 1861 until 1868.

Tasmanian Defence Forces

Hobson & Sons Golden Square w.

According to Cossum, page 25, this button dates from 1884-1901. This agrees with the backmark, as Hobson & Sons were at 1-5 Lexington Street, Golden Square, West London from 1887-1901. However, please note that the dating in Cossum’s book, whilst correct for the forces, is out in this instance by a couple of years for the actual uniform buttons.

The history of  the colony’s  defence forces was one of government disinterest,  poor or no funding, poorly placed batteries, small permanent force numbers and volunteer units that waxed and waned until the Second Boer War increased interest and support.

In 1874, a government report detailed that only the Hobart and Launceston Artillery Corps remained in the state from a once larger number; the Hobart corps existing in name only, with five officers and no men and “80 stand of arms and accoutrements unaccounted for.” Launceston had a total of 22 men and officers. This small loyal group  kept this corp in existence, with no support or recognition, and only obsolete rifles with no ammunition. In the meantime, there were no volunteer forces in the south of the state from 1874 until 1877 when new volunteer rifle groups were raised. These groups dwindled from 1880-1883, then a new Commandant arrived from England. A revival of the forces under this new command seems to have prompted the production of the button above to supersede the previous button. The previous button, according to Cossum, had a similar design but was labelled with ‘Tasmanian Local Forces’. The article below indicates the buttons and other accoutrements arrived from England in 1880 for the Tasmanian Local Forces.

Launceston Examiner, 13th July 1880, page 3. The force was formed in 1878 but the uniforms did not arrive until 1880, with some units not receiving them for several years.

The Mercury (Hobart), 27th February 1886 page 2. From an article on the release of Tasmania’s Defence Force Manual.  Uniforms including the above button did not arrive by ship until 1889.

The Tasmanian (Launceston), 11th January 1890 page 24. From an article describing  the new uniforms.

In 1900-01 there were 27 permanent and 2527 volunteers. The batteries were in poor repair, the forces poorly equipped with old, “useless” rifles and were wearing either no uniforms or worn out second-hand uniforms. The State Minister of Defence stated  … that it (the forces) had become probably more of a menace to the state than a security.”  Even after federation it took several years before issues of pay and uniforms were dealt with.

Libraries Tasmania’s Online collection: c. 1890 Tasmanian Volunteer force.

“The Tasmanian Regiment began in 1870. Formerly the Tasmanian Volunteer Regiment, it changed in 1897 to the 1st Battalion Tasmanian Infantry Regiment. In 1911 it became the 93rd Infantry Battalion, and in 1916 was the 40th Battalion of World War 1. The 2nd 40th distinguished itself in Timor in World War 11.”

Tasmanian Rifle Volunteers

In 1878 new volunteer forces were raised after a period of decline in the colony that had left only Launceston Artillery Corps functioning. However, once again the volunteer forces dwindled until a new Commandant arrived from England in 1883, and Tasmanian Defence Forces were raised in 1885.  The new uniforms and buttons did not arrive until 1889!

Tasmanian Volunteer & Permanent Artillery

Backmark: C. Pitt & Co 50 St Martins Lane London Charles Pitt & Co operated from 50 Martins Lane from 1875-1895.

 According to Cossum, this button dates from 1884-1901. Whilst volunteer artillery units existed from 1859, the Permanent Artillery was raised on 10th September 1886, so they cannot date from 1884. There was mention in the press of a new uniform for rifle clubs being tendered for in 1889, so perhaps the buttons date from then.

Tasmanian Punch, 26th February 1870 page 6.

 

Libraries Tasmania SD_ILS:647740.
Major Crowther of the Southern Tasmanian Volunteer Artillery. 1890.

https://www.utas.edu.au/library/companion_to_tasmanian_history/V/Volunteer%20defence.htm

“This soldier is fully equipped for departure to South Africa, to fight alongside members of other Australian Colonial Forces in the Boer War. It is interesting to note his slouch hat turned up on the right side, instead of today’s conventional left side. Khaki had become the accepted service colour at that time.”

Victoria

http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/uncategorized/28th-october-2020/

http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/uncategorized/29th-october-2020/

http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/uncategorized/30th-october-2020/

http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/uncategorized/1st-november-2020/

http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/uncategorized/2nd-november-2020/

 

“Attached to this officer’s chest belt is a whistle on the end of a chain, while on his left sleeve he wears crossed muskets, a sportsmanship award. By the year 1860 this volunteer movement was well established and preparations were in hand for the fortification of Hobson’s Bay and Port Phillip Bay.”

In 1858 the Ballarat Volunteer Rifle regiment was formed, of four infantry and two cavalry divisions. This soldier, a Ranger of the Ballarat Volunteers of 1874, has a busby made of sealskin and wears a marksmanship award on his left sleeve. Volunteers were issued with Lancaster percussion muzzle-loading rifles.”

In 1902 Victoria had the second largest force, including the Victorian Mounted Rifles and the Victorian Infantry Brigade and volunteer units. In 1859 there is reference to both a South Australian Volunteer Rifle Corps, and a South Australian Free Rifle Corps, the latter being renamed the South Australian Auxillary Rifles in 1860. By January 1861 a South Australian Rifles Association had been formed from numerous volunteer companies that then existed, and would continue right up to the present.  I also have an A.J. Parkes S.A.R. button with a Queen’s crown (i.e. post 1951) so perhaps this is a button of the South Australian Rifle Association

Permanent Victorian Artillery Corps

Both backmarked Bowley & Co Melbourne, but of differing construction.

W. Moncton Melbourne, 1899-1903.

Stokes & Sons Melb

Lincoln Stuart Melbourne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Royal Artillery uniform buttons have a crown depicted over the cannon and ramrod; this style without the crown was used for the pre-federation Permanent

 An Artillery Corps was created in 1870 after the use of British Corps was ceased, and lasted until 1901. (The design was also used later from 1924 for Artillery Association Uniformed Staff in the United Kingdom.)

 

Royal Victorian Volunteers  Artillery Regiment

1859-1870

Stokes and Martin Maker Melb

Victorian Artillery Staff

No backmark. Ball button.

A similar button to this is seen on Cossum page 16. There is no suggested date, but it does have a Queen Victoria Crown (i.e. pre 1902).

 

Victorian Cavalry Regiment 1885-1892

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See  http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/uncategorized/30th-october-2020/

The ball type button for both the Victorian Horse Artillery (Cossum p.15) and the Victorian Cavalry Regiment (Cossum p.16) are very similar. In Cossum’s book the first was made by Firmin of London and seems to have a Queen Victoria type crown, and the second made for Bowley & Co, Melbourne, with a King’s Crown, even though it dates from Queen Victoria’s reign. Apart from that, the design is the same so I have some hesitancy in firmly identifying the button in case both troops were supplied with the same/similar buttons.

Victorian Military Forces

This consisted of the Victorian Rangers and the Victorian Mounted Rifles.

Stokes & Martin Melb 1892-3,

Lincoln Stuart & Co. 1893-1901

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unmarked. 1893-1901

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Victorian Rifle Volunteers were renamed in 1889 as the Victorian Rangers, and were often drawn from rifle clubs. The motto is  ‘Pro Deo et Patria’ (For God and fatherland/country) which according to the Australian War memorial dates it to 1893 or later. As Stokes’ and Martin’s partnership dissolved that year, that button presumably dates to a short period around 1892-3.

The button is 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).

The Age (Melbourne), 10th June 1891 page 7.

Victorian Naval Brigade

Backmark: C. R. Martin Melbourne

Stokes & Sons Melb

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Victorian Navy buttons show an upright Anchor (not tilted/lazy) and a Queen Victoria Crown. Note that the rope crosses over then under the shank on the CR Martin version, but under/over the shank of the anchor on the Stokes version.

As well as a double rows of 10 gilt buttons, there are another 3 buttons under the front flaps, and 3 on each cuff. Australian Maritme Museum http://collections.anmm.gov.au/en/objects/30360/victorian-naval-brigade-officers-jacket;jsessionid=B742AA0669DFA8A1D7FBE3A3FD27D648

 

In 1900 500 sailors of the NSW and Victorian naval brigades, as well as the SA warship Protector went to China to help suppress the Boxer uprising. Although they arrived at Tiesen too late to be involved in the fighting, they were involved in a nasty suppression of the town of Pao Ting Fu.

Critic (Adelaide) 28th July 1900 page 10. Victorian Naval Brigade going to China.

 

Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney) 4th August 1900 page 39. Officers of The Cerberus.

 

Victorian Rifle Regiments

Thanks to Noble Numismatics for the following image.

Victorian Rifle regiments 1880-1890 (per Cossum).

In 1884 it was decided to replace the Victorian Volunteer forces with a militia (part time, partially paid). The militia was continued until federation. However, most units that existed before 1884 remained in existence.

“This soldier’s spiked helmet illustrated here was in vogue, typical of those worn by the British line regiments, and similar to those worn by the German Army in the Franco-Prussian War. The West Melbourne regiment was formerly the 1st Victorian Metropolitan Rifles, and was later to become the first Victorian regiment.”

Victorian Volunteer Service

Carol

According to Cossum, 1870-1880, British make.

Thanks to Noble Numismatics. According to Cossum page 9 this is a Victorian Volunteer Service button c.1875. I am puzzled as to why it displays the ‘wrong’ crown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1870 British regiments were withdrawn from Australia, with small numbers of permanent and larger numbers of volunteer artillery and infantry forces taking over protection of the colony of Victoria. In 1884 the volunteers system was replaced with a partially paid (semi-volunteer) militia.

West Australia

http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/uncategorized/15th-november-2020/

 

Albany Defence Rifles

Thanks to Noble Numismatics: Albany Defence Rifles 1885-1888.

Apart from a short lived attempt at a local volunteers force in 1829, it was not until 1861, upon the withdrawal of British troops, that tvolunteers group were formed in Fremantle, Perth and elsewhere.

Western Australian Highlanders

Thanks to Noble Numismatics  c.1903.

Stokes & Sons Melb.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This unit was raised in 1903. It is not clear when it was disbanded, but a new Cameron Highlanders of WA was raised in 1936.

Boer War Contingents

1st Australian Horse

“Formed in 1897, this distinguished regiment saw service in the Boer war, and the 1st and 2nd World Wars. In 1903 it became the 3rd Australian Light Horse Regiment (Australian Horse) and, after several more changes, became the 7th Australian Motor Regiment in 1942. This regiment was disbanded in the following year.”

Australian Nursing Service

“Australian women made history when a detachment of nurses was organised and sent to South Africa to tend the wounded. Such a move wa s a victory in women’s fight for equality and recognition of their rights. Illustrated is one of these brave nurses who carried on the wonderful traditions of Florence Nightingale.”

South Australian Contingent to South Africa

SA contingents to South Africa 1899-1902. Cossum page 20.

Western Australian Infantry

From the back of the card: “When British regular troops were withdrawn from Western Australia in 1863 there were only three volunteer units in existence. But from that time the volunteer movement was to grow steadily. In 1899 Western Australia sent troops to South Africa to fight in the Boer War. The officer illustrated is in full dress uniform.’