Topic: Militia - LHW - WA
Western Australian Militia
Pinjarrah Mounted Volunteers
The following is an extract from the book written in 1962 by George F. Wieck called The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia 1861-1903, pp. 30 – 32:
Pinjarrah Mounted Volunteers
A resident of Pinjarrah, Mr F. Fawcett (late Cornet 6th Dragoon Guards) initiated a movement to form a Volunteer mounted corps at that centre. The corps was to be 15-17 strong and designated the "Pinjarrah Mounted Volunteers". The Gazette of 23/10/1862 gave formal approval and appointed Mr F. Fawcett as Captain Commanding. At that time the roll bore the names of 17 members and 6 honorary members.
Captain Fawcett was a forceful and enthusiastic leader who gave much time, obviously much of his substance also, to raise a successful corps. His personality was such that in some miraculous manner he succeeded at one stage in raising the strength of the corps to 82 men in spite of the sparsely settled nature of the District.
The type of uniform selected was almost a replica of that worn by the 6th Dragoon Guards i.e., Scarlet tunic, white pantaloons, white helmet with spike, over-boots, and steel spurs. White facings or cords were adopted. It was a very spectacular dress but very unsuitable and difficult to obtain.
Arms comprised revolver carbines and Light Cavalry swords. At first the only revolver carbines available were six obtained from the guard of a convict ship, then in 1864, 18 new weapons were received from England. No other firearms were received by the corps.
All aims, accoutrements, saddlery, uniform etc. had to be obtained from England on a cash basis, orders being passed through the office of the Colonial Secretary at Perth. For a variety of reasons, not the least of them being ignorance of procedure and tardy communications, some deliveries were held up for two years or more and generally speaking the position was most unsatisfactory. The Executive Council had made provision for a corps of 18 all ranks, a fact of which Capt. Fawcett was well aware so he must be held responsible for the long delays and disappointments resulting from these delays.
By 1868 strength had increased to 61 men plus cadets, and by 1873 to 88. Attendances were not high but Inspecting Officers invariably reported the men seen as being efficient and of good spirit.
Among the highlights of this interesting corps' performances were the provision of an escort of one Sergeant, one Trumpeter, and four Troopers, for duty in connection with the visit of H.R.H. the Duke of Edinburgh in 1867. For that duty six sets of Dragoon uniform were hurriedly made and issued at a cost to the public of £93/2/1. The escort was on duty for two months and for that service a special allowance of £16/10/0 was granted. In order to take part in the celebrations Capt. Fawcett marched part of the corps from Pinjarrah to Perth. In 1868 a special allowance of £65 was granted to cover the cost of a special muster.
Strength steadily declined from 1874 and by 1882 had dropped to 26. Disbandment was gazetted on 3/11/1882. Obviously the recruiting field had become exhausted: also it would appear that Capt. Fawcett's power waned after 1873 or else he became absorbed in other activities.
Capt. Fawcett commanded the corps for the full period of its 20 years' life. The junior Officers were similarly unchanged. Had there been a change of command in 1874 the course of events might have been different.
Officers of Pinjarrah Mounted Volunteers
Captain F Fawcett - 23 October 1862
Lieutenant JG Murray - 6 October 1868
Cornet F Oakley - 6 October 1868
Surgeon TF Beddingfeld - 17 November 1868
Chaplain Reverend JS Price - 17 November 1868
Lieutenant F de Lisle - 26 March 1870
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Citation: The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia, Pinjarrah Mounted Volunteers