School/University Buttons including Cadets

Table of Contents

A Note on Cadet Corps.

?Charters Towers area School Cadet Corps; 1870-1880. State Library Qld image link item

State Library Qld. image #157029

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 pre-federation, 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! From 1894 the Senior Cadets from public schools were absorbed into the militia and 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 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

Australian War Memorial collection: Senior cadet uniform with NSW forces buttons marked ‘D. Jones & Co. Sydney’. In 1894 the senior cadets were absorbed into the militia and affiliated with regiments and corps.

Air Training Corps

Established in 1941 as a youth cadet organisation to foster interest in a career in the airforce, modeled on a similar system set up in Britain.

National Library #40511421. An Air Training Corps Cadet receiving tuition in meteorology. c 1942.

The Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of New South Wales (Taree, NSW), 6th January 1943 page 4.

A.T.C. badge

Western Mail (Perth), 24th June 1943 page 9.

Air Force News, 7th April 2016 page 25.

COMMONWEALTH (Military Schools)

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






Gilt, King’s crown

Duntroon Military College was established at Duntroon in Canberra in 1911.

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

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.



Church of England Grammar School Cadets

Backmark: A. J. Parkes Brisbane 1929-1952

The Queenslander, 1st September 1932 page 4.

The Anglican Church Grammar School (known as the Church of England Grammar School until 1984), was founded in 1912  at St Magnus Hall in Toowong. It relocated to East Brisbane in 1918. The crossed axes on the button symbolise Viking courage, and relate to the school’s patron saint, St Magnis, who was a Norseman.

The cadets corps of the school formed as part of D Company, 5th Battalion Australian Military Forces in 1919. After the suspension of compulsory cadet training by the Government in 1929 the school decided to continue anyway, its cadets becoming the Church of England Grammar School Cadet Corps.

The Brisbane Courier, 26th November 1930 page 16.

The Telegraph (Brisbane), 13th May 1939 page 14.

Many former cadets enlisted during both World Wars. In 1948 it was claimed to be the largest cadet corps in Australia.


Cranbrook School Cadets

The school’s  Volunteer Rifle Corps was established in 1899.  It became the Cranbrook Combined Cadet Force in 1948.

The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW), 26th March 1931 page 12.


Goulburn High School

This may be a cadet button.

The first public (government) High School in Goulburn started in 1883 but failed due to low attendances and possibly high running costs. It also had to compete with several private high schools in the district.

Goulburn Herald (NSW), 19th July 1883 page 2. I note with displeasure that the advertised salaries were to be 400 pounds for the headmaster, but only 300 pounds for the headmistress.

Goulburn Evening Penny Post, 2nd April 1885 page 2.

Goulburn Evening Penny Post, 1st April 1886 page 4. It was closed on 30th September 1886.

The High School was re-established in 1913 from an existing public secondary school that provided only a two year course, in the Bourke Street Technical Building. A cadet corps was established by 1914.

Goulburn Evening Penny Post, 14th June 1913 page 4.

Sydney Mail, 20th July 1917 page 13. Some of the pupils with the Principal, Mr C. Blumer M.A., at the centre.

In 1927 a newly built school building was opened in Goldsmith Street, where it continues today with several extensions.

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney), 24th July 1927 page 36.


Gundagai High School

The button has no backmark. it features the dog on the tucker-box.

There was reference to a Gundagai High School existing in 1943, but perhaps this was a mistake as the town was campaigning for one in 1948. This was in existence some time before 1955. In 1961 a “new” Gundagai High School was opened.

Gundagai is located on the Murrumbidgee River 390km south west of Sydney. The original poem featuring a reference to a bullocky’s dog sitting on or in the tucker box, and so spoiling the food, may date to either 1857 or 1880. A later poem by Jack Moses was published around 1918, and was the inspiration for the statue of the dog, which in turn was inspiration for a popular song in 1937 by Jack O’Hagan.

National Archives image #11847204. 1949


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.



Knox Grammar School Cadets

Small: Stokes & Sons, Princes of Wales plumes.
Large Stokes & Sons Melb

Knox Grammar opened in 1924 in Wahroonga, Sydney as a day and boarding school. It has run a cadet program since 1929, with girls from the sister school of Ravenswood eligible for the last decade.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 21st August 1923 page 9.


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 existence.


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

Made by Hammond, Turner & Sons. Used from with kind permission.

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


North Sydney Boys High School

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, then a boys school at a separate 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 

Backmarks: small “stokes & Sons”, others Stokes & Sons Melbourne”

The University crest.

Here is the SUR hat badge by Stokes.

The University Volunteer Rifles was formed in 1900, part of the NSW Defence Force.

New South Wales Government Gazette , 14th December 1900 page 9723.

Australian Town and Country Journal (Sydney), 14th June 1902 page 29.

It was renamed  the Sydney University Scouts in 1903, then the SUR in 1927.

It is an officer training unit for the Australian Army reserve.

Note: The University of NSW buttons are similar.


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 New South Wales University of Technology. The university and regiment were renamed in 1958.



Regional University Regiment of Queensland

From Digger History.

Started in 1928, this unit was originally the Cavalry Mobile Veterinary Section. This institution  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

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



They are likely all produced by the same maker, probably Schlank & Co.,  although they are not all 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 High School. No marker’s mark. Post 1976.


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. See entry below).


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.


Campbelltown High School

This High School was  opened around 1958  and merged in 1992.


Christian Brothers College

Opened in 1878.


Concordia College

 Opened 1890.  The school badge was designed in 1907.


Elder Conservatorium Of Music

S.S. & Co. Ltd. Adelaide. c.1950-1969. 

Adelaide Observer, 19th March 1898 page 42. The proposed new University of Adelaide building.

In 1898 the privately run Adelaide College of Music merged with the University of Adelaide’s  School of Music to form the Elder Conservatorium of Music. Was the button for staff, or for students? See entry for Adelaide College of Music above.

State Library SA image #B71030 c.1905.


Elizabeth Boys Technical School

Elizabeth Boys Technical High School opened in 1960 and changed name in 1976, becoming Fremont High School. (There was also a Elizabeth Girls Technical which became Playford High School but I think this is the Boys badge).


Immanuel College 

A Lutheran college founded in 1895.


King’s College

From 1923 to 1973. A boys’ school that amalgamated in 1974 with Girton Girls’ School to become Pembroke School.


Marion High School

No backmark.

This public school ran from 1955-1996.

SA Government papers: Marion front Entrance, 1960.


Norwood (Junior Boys) Technical School

From 1942-1960, then renamed Norwood Boys Technical School 1961-1973. Again renamed as Marryatville Boys High school in 1974.


Oakbank Area School

Formed from two other schools in 1944.


Prince Alfred College

Opened in 1869.

Button on rt. Olsen Adelaide

Pulteney Grammar School, Adelaide

This is one of Australia’s oldest schools, opening on 29th May 1848. It has moved a couple of times, being sited at 190 South Terrace since 1921.

State Library SA, image PRG 280/1/26/202.  Opening of new school site in 1921

Chronicle (Adelaide) 24th July 1926. Special assembly for Principal W. P. Nicholls’ 25th year of service.


Rostrevor College

A Roman catholic college for boys established in 1923.


Sacred Heart College

The senior campus of this college was oped in 1897.


Salisbury High School (?)

This button came with the label ‘Salisbury H.S.’ attached, but I cannot confirm this as a new school logo was adopted in 1994.

The school was planned from 1953 and opened in 1959.

From the Parlimentary Papers, Report of Minister of Education , SA Government, 1958.


Scotch College

Founded in 1919.


Seacombe High School

Opened 1959. became Seaview High School in 1989 when Seacombe and Dover High School amalgamated.


St Ignatius College

Opened 1951.


St Michael’s College

An Adelaide Catholic school opened in 1954. The Primary campus is situated  Beverley, and the College, opened in 1967, in neighbouring Henley Beach.


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. It may not have had its own design button.

A note from Chris Akenfelds:

Regarding the Deakin University Company badge. That unit most definitely did exist. It was based for a while in the same facility as the 10th Medium Regiment Royal Australian Artillery in Geelong, Victoria, but then moved out to the site of a former orphanage on the outskirts of Geelong. Later, I am told, it moved to the Waurn Ponds campus of Deakin University. I was a member of Deakin University Company in 1983. I left after a while but rejoined again in 1988. As for the badge, I recognise it but never once did I see anybody wearing it. We all just worn the badge of the Royal Australian Infantry Corps. That DUC badge, as far as I understood it, was just a proposed badge and I don’t know if it ever gained official status. It might have after I left, but I don’t really know. As for Deakin University Company itself, it had a nickname: “The Duck”, which was known to those who served in the unit. The unofficial boozer on site was called “The Duck Pond”. Back then, our standard weapon was the 7.62mm L1A1 SLR. There were also 7.62mm M60 GPMGs stored on site. The unit was commanded by a Major whose name I can’t recall anymore and there was also a small cadre of Australian Army regulars attacked to the unit.


Melbourne Grammar School

Stokes Melb

 Founded in 1858 by the first Anglican Bishop of Melbourne. It offers co-education for Primary schooling, the boys only in High School.


Melbourne University Regiment

Stokes Melb

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. Since 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.

W. Moncton Melbourne

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.

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


Wesley College

No backmark. 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.



Guildford Grammar School

Backmark: Sheridan Perth

This school was established in 1896 as an Anglican boys’ school. Since 2019 it has been fully co-educational and offers boarding.

Western Mail (Perth), 23rd June 1900 page 38.

Sunday Times, 29th June 1930 page 8.


Hales School


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

Mark: Sheridan Perth

  School badge


Scotch College Perth

Backmark: Sheridan Perth

Founded in 1897 by the Presbyterian Church as the Alexander Scotch College, it is now a pre-kinder to year 12 boys’ school, offering boarding.

The West Australian (Perth), 20th August 1896 page 5.


Western Mail (Perth), 27th November 1941 page 2.


St George’s College

Backmark: ‘Sheridan 2 Hay St. Silver.’

St George’s is the Church of England’s residential college of the University of Western Australia. It was opened in 1931.

State Library of WA image #095696PD. 1930; the building is still under construction.

Is from a students’ or staff uniform?


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.


Australian Button History