3rd June 2021

Colonial Forces

It’s easy to look back with bemusement at the attempts to run effective volunteer defence forces, but the perceived threats from French, Russian or American invaders were considered real. A couple of times American ships sailed unexpectedly into Port Phillip Bay. French and Russian scientific expeditions arrived during colonial times (and may have had secondary spying mandates).

None-the-less, pictures from Trove (National Library online scanned newspapers, etc) of drilling volunteers do make me smile, especially the image of Scottish Volunteers in full kit! Kneeling down on the prickles with bare knees, and taking aim without the billowing coat or towering busby getting in the way …

Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney), 27th September 1873 p17.

Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney), 13th December 1873 p17.

Queensland Figaro and Punch (Brisbane), 23rd February 1889. p8