29th May 2022

N.S.W. Volunteer Rifles 1860-70

Courtesy of Noble Numismatics.

How did I miss writing about this one? Following after the 1st New South Wales Rifles of 1854-1860 (http://www.austbuttonhistory.com/19th-october-2020/) were the NSW Volunteer Rifles.

New South Wales Volunteer Rifles, around 1863. From the Caroline Simpson Library (Sydney Living Museums) #43015.

Sydney Living Museum collection: Private John Joseph Shying, No 5 Company Sydney Battalion Volunteer Rifles, c1863

With the withdrawal of many of the British soldiers to fight in the “Maori Wars” (now known as the Land Wars) in New Zealand, there was a renewal of interest in raising volunteer corps.  Disappointed after years of failed attempts to get government support for the 1st NSW Rifles, its Major, Thomas Wingate, resigned to pave the way for a new corps. He was aware that the new volunteers had differing ideas and aims to his own.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 27th August 1860 page 8.

Indeed, from August that year several new volunteer corps were being established, with members of the original 1st Volunteer Rifle Corps (described by some as “moribund”) invited to join with the new proposed Sydney Corps. The government agreed to the use of part of the Hyde Park Barracks.

Empire (Sydney), 31st August 1860 page 5.

Twenty rifle companies were together designated the ‘First Regiment, NSW Volunteer Rifles’.  According to https://www.rnswr.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/THE-LINEAGE.pdf ” a change in uniform was made, the newly adopted uniform being grey with black facings (the black facings referred to were suggested for the Penrith company of volunteers in June 1860, the first new volunteer group raised in the Sydney area), an infantry shako and a brown belt”. However these descriptions were reported in print in 1861:

Empire (Sydney), 20th May 1861 page 4.

Sydney Mail, 24th August 1861 page 3.

Continued tomorrow.

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