Topic: AAA Volunteers
The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre
"At a mile distant their thousand hooves were stuttering thunder, coming at a rate that frightened a man - they were an awe inspiring sight, galloping through the red haze - knee to knee and horse to horse - the dying sun glinting on bayonet points..." Trooper Ion Idriess
The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre aims to present an accurate history as chroniclers of early Australian military developments from 1899 to 1920.
The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre site holds over 12,000 entries and is growing daily.
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WARNING: This site contains: names, information and images of deceased people; and, language which may be considered inappropriate today.
The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre
Navigating the Site
Because of the complexity, volume and nature of the material, it is a difficult task producing a front end that is simple to use for the visitor. The solution has meant that some simplicity has been sacrificed for accuracy.
All that being said, once the logic of the site is understood, it is quite simple to navigate.
The sidebar structure is quite simple. The first items relate to the AIF, followed by the Boer War, Battles, General information, Militia, Turkish items and then Weapons. Each item is clearly marked as a heading followed by subheadings which incorporate the heading detail.
AIF - Australian Imperial Force
Example: AIF - 2B - 7 LHR = Australian Imperial Force, 2nd Light Horse Brigade, 7th Light Horse Regiment - which will open with a contents page detailing the items on that particular thread which will include a regimental outline. This particular section details the entire Australian Order Of Battle in the Middle East and includes information upon other national units that played a role with the AIF. So primarily there is a large listing of NZ material as there will be eventually of British material. Included are the Italians, French and British West Indies, to name a few.
BW - Boer War
Example: BW - NSW - NSWCBC = Boer War, New South Wales, NSW Citizens Bushemen's Contingent. This thread deals with many issues relating to the formation and history of the NSW Citizens Bushemen's Contingent including nominal rolls and individual biographies of soldiers.
Batz - Battles
Example: BatzB - Buffels Hoek = Battles, Boer War, Buffels Hoek. This will give a contents page detailing all the items in the thread dealing with the battle at Buffels Hoek in which Australians saw action. There are close to about 130 battles in which Australians participated during the period 1899 - 1920 which included two in Australia itself. These are all recorded and detailed in this section.
GW - Great War
This section deals with the general issues relating to Australia and the Great War.
GM - German Items
This section deals with items specifically dealing with the German forces in the Middle East during the Great War.
Militia - Australian Militia 1899 - 1920
Example: Militia - LHN - 3/11/7 = Militia, Light Horse New South Wales, 3rd Australian Light Horse which became the 11th Australian Light Horse which finished as the 7th Australian Light Horse. The sub sub heading is under the subheading "Militia - LHN - NSW" highlighting the fact that this section is now dealing with New South Wales Light Horse Militia activities. This specific topic is of course about the Australian Horse.
Tk - Turkish
Example: Tk - Bks - Air Force = Turkish Items, Books, Air Force which opens to a transcription of Ole Nikolajsen's book, Ottoman Aviation 1911 – 1919.
Wp - Weapons
This section deals with the various weapon systems employed by the various combatant forces during the various conflicts.
The Search Engine
Every item on this site has been thoroughly indexed, a process which occurs daily to list new entries.
A search engine only works as well as the parameters placed in the search box. The wider the search term, the more results will be generated. The best hint is to be very specific with your search item.
If you have a general term, firstly examine the sidebar to establish if a thread already exists which covers the search parameters. Using a term like "Beersheba" will produce many hundreds of entries since apart from hundreds of individual items, it is also listed on the sidebar as a thread and as such has its own table of contents.
We are always open to suggestions on making such a scheme more logical and simple without sacrificing accurate content description.
The Australian Light Horse
The following is an extract from the book by Hall, RJG, The Australian Ligth Horse, Melbourne 1967, pp. 11 - 14.
The Early Years 1818-1870
To understand the conditions which existed at the time of the appearance of the Australian Mounted troops, one has to make a brief examination of the development of the military defence in Australia. Such developments take place in fairly well defined periods
• 1788-1850 Imperial Forces only
• 1850-1870 Imperial Forces plus local volunteers
• 1870 Departure of Imperial Forces
• 1871-1880 State Volunteer movements
• 1880-1900 Reorganization in accordance with Jervois-Scratchley Report
• 1902 Federation reorganization
Initially, the military forces were closely associated with the nature of the community. A large number of convicts was being used in the labour field. The colonists depended upon the military, in the absence of a police force, to protect life and property against the possible threat of convict violence and aboriginal reprisals against the unwelcome intrusion. The troops supplied for this task were Imperial regiments of foot, stationed in the Australian colonies for a definite term of duty.
The New South Wales Corps, a force raised in England for service in Australia, arrived in 1790 - 1792. A detachment was stationed at Parramatta, a town later to become a strong Light Horse centre and currently the depot for one of the oldest light horse regiments, the Royal New South Wales Lancers.
Despite the popular association of the Corps with the infamous rum traffic, the disciplined development of public, as well as military services, owes much to the quality of both officers and men of the Corps. The declining good relations with the Administration, noticeably during the later part of Governor Hunter's term of office, ceased altogether after the arrival of the autocratic and unbending Governor Bligh. After the disastrous "rebellion" of 1808 the Corps returned to Britain in 1809 and were disbanded as 102 Regiment in 1818. The Australian colonies then saw the arrival and departure of 26 British line regiments and a detachment of the Royal Artillery from 1810 - 1870.
More good than ill can he said of the regiments performing their difficult duties in the colonies.
Of the 28th (North Gloucestershire) Regiment (1835 - 1842), the "Australian" of 16 June 1842 made the following comments:
"During the sojourn of the Corps amongst us, the steady, soldierlike conduct of the men, the courteous demeanour of the officers, have carried our cordial approbation and they will leave many friends and well wishers behind them in the colony."
Not so cordial was the General Order directed at the 57th (West Middlesex) Regiment (1826-1831) and published on 27th April 1826:
"The Lieutenant General is pleased to Order that John Jones and John Doherty of 57th Regiment, who have rendered themselves by self mutilation to be incapable of performing their regimental duties, be sent at the first opportunity to Norfolk Island for the purpose of being employed there as scavengers."
The 4th (King's Own) Regiment of Foot (1832-1837) left behind something more tangible than memories of their service. Lieutenant Colonel McKenzie, their commanding officer, retired on 11th July 1834, married and settled in Australia. One of his daughters married Capt A. T. Faunce of the King's Own. This couple became the grand parents of Granville Ryrie (later Major General Hon. Sir Granville Ryrie KCMG, CB, VD, commander of the 2 LH Brigade in the Great War 1914-18).
Between 1825 and 1840, the colonies suffered under a period of military inertia which was to be visited upon the country at least twice again over the next 140 years. The Colonial Office repeatedly ignored the observation of Governor Darling-that there was "a total absence of works necessary for the protection and security of the colony". The situation deteriorated even further with the reduction of the NSW Garrison in 1846 to assist in the Maori Wars. With the possibility of further reductions, the colonies were told to raise volunteers themselves. As the control of revenues, did not rest with the Legislative Councils, such a proposition was economically unsound. However, this was resolved in 1854. Further stimulation to establishing a voluntary force was provided by the outbreak of the Crimean War the same year. Following second amending act of the Volunteers Forces Act (Vic.) 1854, the following mounted troops officially existed:
NSW - One troop Yeomanry (NSW Cavalry Troop)
Vic - Victorian Volunteer Yeomanry Corps
SA - One troop of Mounted Rifles (Adelaide Mounted Rifles)
After a further decline in interest by the British Government (the Victorian Government was now meeting the entire expenses of maintaining 700 Imperial Troops), a revival occurred with the rumours of French designs against Britain in 1859. Mounted detachments were now organized in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, and South Australia.
The Castlemaine Mail, reporting upon the volunteer review held in honour of the Queen's Birthday on 24 May 1861, indicated the heat of the Victorians' fervour:
"Later a sham fight took place - the Kyneton men on the defensive. The Kyneton men got so warm that it eventually appeared more like a real than sham fight. Several accidents occurred to riders and one horse was shot in the head. Mr G. W. Johnson, ex MLA, was shot across the hand, another of the corps in the neck and another was spattered with powder in the face in such a manner that he will ever present indelible evidence of his proximity to powder More than one rifle bears dints on the barrel and cuts on the wood."
It did however provide Dr. Hutchinson, surgeon to the Castlemaine Corps, the opportunity to tend his men. This he did, resplendent in his new dress uniform which he was wearing for the first time.
By 1863, with the resurgence of Voluntary enlistments, the state of the Australian Cavalry was as follows:
NSW - Mounted Rifle detachment of 4 officers and 35 other ranks
Vic - The Royal Volunteer Cavalry Regiment (Prince of Wales Fight Horse Hussars)
Qld - 2 Troops of Mounted Rifles (Brisbane and Ipswich troops)
SA - 4 Troops of Mounted Rifles (Adelaide Mounted Rifles)
WA - A troop of Mounted Rifles (organized by the 12th Regiment of Foot)
Tas - A troop of Mounted Rifles (Launceston Mounted Rifles)
The Royal Volunteer Cavalry Regiment being the only cavalry regiment in Australia to have the Prince of Wales title, a title preserved by 17 Light Horse and later 4/19 Prince of Wales's Light Horse, it is interesting to note the circumstances of its first use. 1861 was notable in Victoria for the number of independent mounted troops, "The Castlemaine Dragoons", "The Kyneton Mounted Rifles", "The Victorian Yeomanry Cavalry" and so on, each attempting to dress themselves in a uniform both distinctive and yet quite unlike that of the rival troop.
After considerable negotiation, the like of which can well be imagined, the troops were amalgamated under the title "Royal Volunteer Cavalry Regiment". The troops were distinguished by the name of the town from which they were raised. Later in the same year, the prefix "Prince of Wales" was added in honour of the marriage of the Heir Apparent. Although disbanded in 1883, the Prince of Wales title remained in the Victorian militia for many years.
With the conditions of garrison maintenance becoming more and more unfavourable for the State Governments and the guarantee of support from Imperial troops in an emergency increasingly unlikely, it was obvious that the responsibility for military protection was to rest squarely upon the colonies. At the inter-colonial conference of 1870, the question was raised for the last time. The departure of the 18th Royal Irish Regiment and the Royal Artillery from Sydney on 14 August 1870 marked the close of the Imperial Military era.
The Sydney Morning Herald recorded the passing as follows:-
"The circumstance is important as marking an event in history, not only of this colony, but of Australia. It is the first step towards neutrality, not the result of direful conflicts and years of suffering, but the well considered conclusion of men who rule the destiny of a great nation."
With few exceptions, the military and civil example of the Imperial troops was a worthy model for the future military organization within this country, then only 30 years from achieving nationhood.
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Australian Light Horse Studies Centre
We need you to join our team.
Most people think history is only for a few book worms and not for them. And yet we are all part of the rich texture that is the Australian story. Everyone is history and has some history to contribute.
Different jobs for different people
Not everyone has the same skills and interests and so the work is tailored to your own capacity and pace. Here are some of the tasks that need to be undertaken:
Transcription from old typed or hand written documents to digital text.
Individual biographical entries.
Local neighbourhood history.
Writing and producing your own family history.
Small and interesting articles.
These are just some of the tasks required to maintain this complex and ever expanding data base of information about the Light Horse history in the early 20th Century.
The good thing is that you don't have to have specific Light Horse information. We are constructing many items relating to the families and local communities from whence these men came. The Light Horse was not an isolated phenomenon but part of a community movement tied into the nature of the Australian cultural landscape. Every man who rode a horse came from a town, had a mother, had a family, had a job or profession, relied upon the infrastructure of Australia to maintain him in the field which required all the industries and facilities in Australia, the ships that transported the goods and all the other support that existed. But it wasn't confined to Australia alone. Included were the British, New Zealanders, French, Italians, British West Indians, Maltese, Egyptians, Syrians, Palestinians, Arabs and Ottoman Turks. In addition, there was the Boer War which included other groups. In this mix, there is a place for your talents.
Think about the way you could use your talents to improve the information available on this site.
Things to consider about volunteering
Volunteers go through basically two stages. The first is learning the craft. Posts are moderated to ensure they comply with specific standards that maintain the look and integrity of the site. When this is achieved, usually after about ten posts, then there is unmoderated but edited access to the site.
The items that you place on the site are done so on the basis that while you may hold the copyright, it is freely available to the internet for non-commercial purposes on a permanent basis. If you do not want to share your work in this manner, then volunteering is not something for you. However, if you have a story to tell and wish to share it freely with everyone else, then this is the place for you.
Drop a note to us at:
We will chat about getting you started.
The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre is a not for profit and non profit group whose sole aim is to write the early history of the Australian Light Horse from 1900 - 1920. It is privately funded and the information is provided by the individuals within the group and while permission for the use of the material has been given for this site for these items by various donors, the residual and actual copyright for these items, should there be any, resides exclusively with the donors. The information on this site is freely available for private research use only and if used as such, should be appropriately acknowledged. To assist in this process, each item has a citation attached at the bottom for referencing purposes.
Please Note: No express or implied permission is given for commercial use of the information contained within this site.
A note to copyright holders
The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre has made every endeavour to contact copyright holders of material digitised for this blog and website and where appropriate, permission is still being sought for these items. Where replies were not received, or where the copyright owner has not been able to be traced, or where the permission is still being sought, the Australian Light Horse Studies Centre has decided, in good faith, to proceed with digitisation and publication. Australian Light Horse Studies Centre would be happy to hear from copyright owners at any time to discuss usage of this item.