School/University Buttons including Cadets


A note on Cadet Corps.

Cadets are/were involved in youth military programs, the programs designed to develop interest in military careers, as well as a more general support of the military and positive development of the cadet. From 1865 boys were taught drill and arms handling in certain schools. The Corps were also run by rifles clubs and other volunteer groups. Over time cadets corps variously came under the control of governmental educational or defence departments and post federation, controlled under the Defence Act 1903. As the programs were often run by schools, and the cadets were not considered part of the military, their buttons are included here.

In Victoria drill started at Scotch College in 1851, and its cadet forces established in 1867. In New South Wales military drill was established in various school around 1834, with the first official Cadet unit raised at St Mark’s Collegiate School in 1866. Members could be aged from 10 years upward! In 1906 the cadet forces of the various states were placed under federal control with the establishment of the Australian Cadet Corps.  It was felt that a well organised cadet system would be an “excellent recruiting ground for the partially-paid and other military forces of the Commonwealth.” This was important as a large standing army was not popular at the time, and so citizen forces, including cadets, were important. Junior Cadets were compulsory from  January 1st, 1911 for all 12-14 year old boys, senior cadets for 14-18 years, and home militia for young men 18-26 years (the Commonwealth Military Forces, or CMF). Senior cadets were issued uniforms and rifles. Boys and men were exempt if they lived greater than 5 miles from the nearest training site, were deemed medically unfit, theological students or resident aliens.

In 1922 this compulsory junior scheme was ended, and from 1929, the seniors. From 1930 Cadets were divided into those associated with approved educational establishments, and those associated with units of the Militia Forces (a precursor of the Australian Army Reserve). Due to contingencies of war, the regimental cadet training was abandoned. Cadet activities continued through to 1975, when they were disbanded, only to be 1976  re-established in 1976 under greater community control.

Australian Sea Cadet Corps existed from 1910-1973 when it became the Australian Navy Cadets.

Since 2001 there are three arms , the Australian Navy Cadets, the Australian Army Cadets and the Australian Air Force Cadets. The ‘Air Training Corps’ became official in 1977, after 35 years of existence.

Camperdown City Library collection. St Mark’s Colligate Cadet Corps in 1866.

For a list of pre-federation corps, see

Commonwealth (Military)


Army Apprentices school

The Balcombe Army Camp at Mount Martha, Victoria was opened  on 2nd June 1948 for boys from 15-17.5 years as a live-in school to undertake a 3 year Army trade qualification. In 1982 it was relocated to Latchford Barracks in Bongellia, near Wodonga. It closed in 1995.


Duntroon Military College







All officer trainees of Duntroon are admitted to the Corps of Staff Cadets upon completion of initial training. Upon graduation, the cadet is promoted to the rank of lieutenant.


Officer Cadet School, Portsea


The Officer Cadet School was set up at Point Nepean on the site of an old quarantine station. The school started in January 1952 and continued until 1985 when officer training was transferred to the Royal Military College, Duntroon. The land has been incorporated into a national park.

Nepean Historical Society: No.3 officer cadet barrack in 1964.

New South Wales


King’s School

Stokes & Sons Melb



The King’s School in Parramatta is an Anglican school opened  in 1832. The school uniform is a military uniform, with silver buttons manufactured by Stokes.

The first official Cadet unit raised at St Mark’s Collegiate School in 1866. Members could be aged from 10 years upward! As King’s School amalgamated with it in 1869, and so claims to have the oldest official cadet Corps, although its own Corps was raised in 1868.

Camperdown City Library collection. St Mark’s Colligate Cadet Corps in 1866.


Newington College

Established in 1863 in Silverwater, Sydney as a  boys Wesleyan college, it is now a Uniting Church school at Stanmore, Sydney. In 1869 its Cadet Corps was incorporated, and is still in existance.


 VBBC magazine, May 2016: Newington College Cadets, formally est. 1869.

Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney) 19th November 1887 page 19. The Newington College  Cadets Shooting team.

North Sydney Boys High School

Tony’s button: Stokes & Sons Melb Possibly a cadet’s button.








Opening in 1912 as the North Sydney Public School, it split into boys and girls campuses in 1915. The boys moved to new premises on the corner of Falcon Street, hence the falcon on the badge.


Sydney Church of England Grammar School

This school was founded in 1889, and is now a dual campus school. It is co-educational from early learning to Year 2, and a boys school at a separte campus to year 12. This school is also known as the Shore School. It offers boarding.

The cadet units was raised in 1908 and still exists.

Sydney University Regiment 

Please send a picture of a button if you have one!







The University Volunteer Rifles was formed in 1900, part of the NSW Defence Force. It was renamed to the SUR in 1927. it is an officer training unit for the Australian Army reserve.


University of New South Wales Regiment

Please send a picture of a button if you have one!

This unit became a Australian army Reserve training unit of the 8th brigade in 2018.

The university was originally called the NSW University of Technology. The university and regiment were renamed in 1958.

University of Sydney

Stokes Vic








This was Australia’s first university, opened in 1850. I wonder which staff wore these buttons?

Town and Country Journal (Sydney), 4th October 1873 page 16.

State Library NSW IE number:IE2134926


Queensland Agricultural  College

From Digger History.

Started in 1928, this unit was originally the Cavalry Mobile Veterinary Section. This unit was later renamed as the Regional University Regiment of Queensland (RURQ) and amalgamated with Queensand University Regiment (QUR) in 1997.


Gatton Past Students Association: 1936 Regiment. See

Queensland University Regiment

Stokes & Sons Melb









A training unit of the Australian Army Reserve, 8th Brigade. It began as the University Rifles in 1932 and renamed in 1948.


South Australia

They are likely all produced by the same maker,  probably Schlank & Co.,  although they are not marked.  They date from around 1960-1973.

Adelaide Boys High School

Adelaide Boys high school opened in 1951 (from former versions of the school).  In 1977 it amalgamated with its girls’ campus, the ‘B’ being dropped from the school crest as seen on the right.







Adelaide College of Music

Button dates 1883-1898. No maker’s mark.

S.S. & Co Ltd Adelaide







This privately run college was established in Wakefield Street East , Adelaide, in 1883 by Herr Immanuel Gotthold Reimann. In 1898 it merged with the University of Adelaide’s school of Music to become the Elder Conservatorium of Music (named after Sir Thomas Elder, benefactor).

Adelaide University Regiment

Stokes Melb








The AUR is an Army Reserve unit. based at the Hamstead Barracks in Adelaide, but with elements in the Northern Territory and Tasmania. It was first formed in 1948 and since 1991 has soley focused on training of Reserve officer cadets.

Christian Brothers College

Opened in 1878.








Concordia College

 Opened 1890.  The Coat of Arms has been updated,  but this stained glass window confirms the button.


Elizabeth Boys Technical School

Elizabeth Boys technical Schools opened in 1960 and changed name in 1975.







Immanuel College Adelaide

A Lutheran college founded in 1895.


King’s College

From 1923 to 1973. it was a Boys’ school that amalgamated in 1974 with Girton Girls’ School to become Pembroke School.


Norwood Junior Boys Technical School

From1942-1960 then renamed Northwood Boys Technical School 1961-1973. Again renamedas Marryatville Boys High school in 1974.






Oakbank Area School

Formed from two other schools in 1944.









Prince Alfred College

Opened in 1869.






Rostrevor College

A Roman catholic college for boys established in 1923.



Sacred Heart College

The senior campus of this college was oped in 1897.








Scotch College

Founded in 1919.






Seacombe High School

Opened 1959. Now known as Seaview High School.







St Ignatius College

Opened 1951.







St Paul’s College

Opened 1958.








St Peter’s College

This boys’ college was established in 1847 by members of the Anglican Church.















Unley High School

Opened in 1910.









Westminster School

Opened as a methodist boys boarding school in 1961, it is now a United Church Co-educational early learning- year 12 school. Located in Marion.

Woodville High School

Opened in 1915.


Army Apprentices school uniform buttons

Stokes Melb

The Balcombe Army Camp at Mount Martha, Victoria was opened  on 2nd June 1948 for boys from 15-17.5 years as a live-in school to undertake a 3 year Army trade qualification. In 1982 it was relocated to Latchford Barracks in Bongellia, near Wodonga. It closed in 1995.

Chanel College

The term “Through Mary” points to a Marist school. The maker, K. G. Luke points to a Victorian school. Chanel College ran from 1958-1999 in Geelong.

Deakin University Regiment/ Company






This unit is defunct, but existed perhaps in the 1980s-90s. Please send a photo if a button exists!

Melbourne University Regiment

The MUR began as the D Company, 4th Battalion of the Victorian Rifles in 1884. Sir John Monash was a Colour Sergeant of this unit. It became the Melbourne University Rifles in 1910. It was disbanded in 1942, to be reformed as the MUR in 1948.

Monash University Regiment

Stokes Melb








MONUR was named in honour of General Sir John Monash. It was a training unit of the Australian Army is association with Monash University. Sincve 1970 it became a training  regiment in its own right, then in 2013 was amalgamated with MUR.

Victorian  Volunteer Cadets Corps

Victorian  Volunteer Cadets Corps.

Victorian Cadet Corps badge with Queen Victoria Crown. Courtesy

The button belongs to the Victorian  Volunteer Cadets Corps, which was agreed upon on 27th March 1884 and formally gazetted on the 23rd January 1885.  In 1883 Stokes and Martin had signed all  their estate over to trustees for their creditors.  Perhaps they continued to trade for some time despite this, or else Thomas Stokes used pre-existing stock to make these buttons.  However that may be, this button must date from 1884. 

AWM item REL/18974.001. This Victorian Volunteer Cadets buttons on this uniform are backmarked Bowley & Co.

Wesley College, Melbourne

Worn 1980.








The St Kilda Campus of Wesley College opened in 1866 with one student. It was the first registered school in Australia. It provided boarding until 1980. A Cadet Corps was started in 1867 and continued until 1975. A second Campus at Glen Waverly opened in 1966. The school became co-educational in 1978. Ten years later Cato College, formerly the Elsternwick Campus of the Methodist Ladies College merged with Wesley.

The Australasian (Melbourne), 14th January 1893 page 40.

West Australia

Hales School, Perth









Set up by the first Anglican Bishop of Perth, Mathew Blagden Hales, as a boys school in 1858.

Hales school cadet badge. Thanks, Cam.










West Australian University Regiment

Stokes & Sons Melb









The WUR as formed in 1949 to be a training unit for the Australian Army Reserve 13th Brigade.