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"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

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Friday, 4 September 2009
Western Australian Militia, Light Horse, Contents
Topic: Militia - LHW - WA


Western Australian Militia, Light Horse




Western Australian Mounted Infantry History



Training by Lieutenant Colonel Noel Murray Brazier, 1914 



Western Australia Light Horse location list 1913

Western Australian Light Horse location list 1910 


The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia

Enrolment and Conditions of Service 

The Plan in Operation 



Perth Volunteer Rifles

Fremantle Volunteer Rifles

Pinjarrah Mounted Volunteers

Pinjarrah Mounted Volunteers, Nominal Roll, 1868

Union Troop of W.A. Mounted Volunteers 

Perth Company of W.A. Rifle Volunteers

W.A. Troop Volunteer Horse Artillery
Fremantle Rifle Volunteers
Guildford Rifle Volunteers 

1st Battalion W.A. Volunteers 

Geraldton Rifle Volunteers 

Wellington Mounted Volunteers

Albany Rifle Volunteers

York Rifle Volunteers  

Naval Artillery Volunteers 

Perth Volunteer Artillery 

Northampton Rifle Volunteers 

Albany Defence Rifles 

No. 1 Battery, Field Artillery 

Plantagenet Rifles 

Fremantle Artillery Volunteers 

No. 2 Battery, Field Artillery 

Bunbury Rifle Volunteers 

York Infantry Volunteers 

Perth Mounted Rifle Volunteers 

York Infantry 

1st Infantry Regiment 

Metropolitan Civil Service Battalion 

West Australian Mounted Infantry

Pinjarrah Mounted Infantry 

Goldfields Battalion of Infantry 

W.A. Infantry Brigade 

1st Battalion, W.A. Infantry Brigade 

Second Battalion, W.A. Infantry Brigade 

3rd Battalion, W.A. Infantry Brigade 

4th Battalion, W.A. Infantry Brigade

5th Battalion, W.A. Infantry Brigade 

Albany Volunteer Garrison Artillery 

18th Light Horse Regiment (W.A.M.I.) 

West Australian Highlanders 


Supporting the Volunteers


Forts and Fixed Defences 
Rifle Ranges 
Organization and Training 
Uniforms and Badges 


Further Reading:

Western Australian Militia, Light Horse

Western Australian Militia, Infantry


Citation: Western Australian Militia, Light Horse, Contents

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 13 December 2009 12:17 PM EAST
Wednesday, 12 August 2009
The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia, Enrolment and Conditions of Service
Topic: Militia - LHW - WA

Western Australian Militia

Enrolment and Conditions of Service


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. 20 – 21:

Chapter IV - Enrolment and Conditions of Service

In the "Sixties" the enrolment formula was very simple; any apparently able-bodied man could enrol for service in a Volunteer corps and remain a member thereof for the rest of his life or until obviously incapacitated. There was no medical or physical standard. Inefficiency and misconduct were valid reasons for discharge.

The Volunteer was required to attend a recruit training course before being finally accepted. He then, in his own time and at his own expense, attended without pay 10-12 training parades per annum, provided himself with uniform, and endeavoured to acquire a standard of efficiency. Apart from the satisfaction of service well rendered and the thrill of serving in Her Majesty's Armed Forces, the Volunteer's recompense was membership of a form of social club which numbered in its ranks many of the prominent and responsible personages of the community.

There were many difficulties but years passed before ills were cured and weaknesses eliminated.

An Establishment (or permissible maximum for each corps) was not in use until 1875, when the Military Commandant requested the Executive Council to lay down what corps strengths he was expected to observe. From that time it was possible to conduct recruiting on an orderly basis. Lack of knowledge and experience led some corps commanders into the trap of over-recruiting: their first impulse was to enrol every suitable person available without any thought for the future, consequently when the inevitable vacancies occurred recruits were not available to fill them. In such cases either the corps strength fell below the permissible minimum and the Corps was disbanded or the Commander covered-up by retaining misfits and inefficients on the roll. The potential of any District can be calculated and unless results are heeded the corps will die of inanition. One District which enrolled up to 80 men had difficulty 70 years later in maintaining a corps of only 30.

One result of the unwise bursts of recruiting was the great disappointment felt by members at the long delays (up to three years in some cases) in issues of arms and clothing. Provision for these requirements was made by the authorities on what was practically a minimum basis-they could not afford anything else. Corps Commanders knew what they could expect in this direction and were to blame for most of the disappointment felt.

As an inducement to serve, an Amendment to the Land Regulations appeared on 22nd May, 1873, under the Caption "Grants to Volunteers". A Lot of Rural Land not exceeding 50 acres was to be granted to each of the Officers, Non-commissioned Officers and Privates of the Volunteer Force who shall have served continuously for a period of five years from and after the coming into operation of the Regulation. If the Volunteer was efficient, of good conduct, and approved by the Governor, Fee Simple would be granted if at the end of three years improvements to the value of £25 had been made, otherwise the Land would revert to the Crown. The wood-pile was not without its "nigger" for records state that in many cases the men accepted cash in lieu because neither water supplies nor communications existed in the area containing their Lots.



Previous: Western Australian Militia, Light Horse

Next: The Plan in Operation 


Further Reading:

Western Australian Militia, Light Horse

Western Australian Militia, Infantry


Citation: The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia, Enrolment and Conditions of Service

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 13 August 2009 11:00 PM EADT
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia, The Plan in Operation
Topic: Militia - LHW - WA

Western Australian Militia

The Plan in Operation


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. 22 – 25:


Chapter V - The Plan in Operation

The Vasse District was first in the field. It desired to form an Infantry corps - to be named the Sussex Volunteer Rifles, with Headquarters Busselton. A roll bearing 33 names, including that of Captain-elect J. Couchman (ex British Army) accompanied by a request for the loan of some muskets and the services of a drill instructor, was forwarded to the Military Commandant. Apparently Lt-Col. Bruce was not quite satisfied for he visited Busselton and there decided that not sufficient of the persons enrolled resided close enough to the proposed headquarters to ensure a sufficient and regular attendance at training parades; he suggested the raising of a mounted corps with fewer numbers. Lt-Col. Bruce's suggestion was indignantly rejected by Capt. Couchman (an Infantry Officer) and the elected committee. During the course of some rather heated correspondence Capt. Couchman returned to England and the proposal to form a Volunteer corps was withdrawn.

The Vasse experience was repeated, with variations, at York, Guildford and Newcastle (Toodyay). With opinion divided at first, York eventually decided on an Infantry corps with some Cavalry as well. Lt-Col. Bruce did not agree, recommending a small Cavalry corps in lieu. The committee agreed but wanted a corps of at least 30 men. Lt-Col. Bruce insisted that York could not maintain so large a body. Nothing further was done.

At Guildford a meeting presided over by Viveash proposed to form a corps, either Cavalry or Infantry, to be known as the Swan River Volunteers, with Capt. Young in command. Sixteen volunteers were available for Infantry and seven for Cavalry. Training commenced under Lieut. Thorold, R.E. Lt-Col. Bruce said there were insufficient volunteers to form an independent corps and suggested that Guildford form a detachment of the Perth corps. The committee would not agree to the suggestion and withdrew its proposal.

At Newcastle no suitable person could be found for the position of Captain Commanding so the proposal could not be accepted.

At Perth and Fremantle action proceeded simultaneously along parallel lines. Public meetings were held in September 1861. Perth recommended a corps of Infantry, 100 strong, to be known as the Perth Volunteer Rifles, with Mr F. S. Leake as Captain Commanding. Fremantle recommended a similar corps, to be known as the Fremantle Volunteer Rifles, with Mr R.S. Price as Captain Commanding. Both proposals were approved, the Gazette notice appearing on 6/8/1862.

Pinjarrah, as was expected, recommended a Cavalry corps of 17 men, to be known as the Pinjarrah Mounted Volunteers, with Mr F. Fawcett (ex-Cornet of 6th Dragoon Guards) to Command. This proposal was approved, the Gazette appearing on 23/10/1962.

Thus far the Movement had produced three corps with a united strength of about 180 men, most of them located where the need was greatest. There was a lapse of 8 years before another corps was raised. Then it was a Cavalry corps whose chief occupation seems to have been the provision of escorts for the Governor on official occasions. Gazetted on 19/7/1870, it was 30 strong and was designated the Union Troop of Western Australian Mounted Volunteers. Its commander was Lieutenant F. de Lisle, a Cornet of British Cavalry.

Very aptly and conveniently the Volunteer Movement may be considered as covering three stages or phases, i.e. Infant (1862 to 1872), Adolescent (1872 to 1895) and Adult (1895 onwards). As we see, the first (infant) stage produced four corps - two mounted and two dismounted - under the conditions originally prescribed. In that same decade the dismounted corps were disbanded, one for insubordination the other for inefficiency. The Military Commandant had no Staff and because of his other duties supervision would tend to be irregular. The ultra-democratic nature of corps administration proved a weakness. However, enthusiasm was not wanting and its tendency towards irregular actions soon brought about drastic changes. It cannot be claimed that the Volunteer Force had achieved a very high standard of efficiency in the first stage.

The invasion scare of 1872 came when the fortunes of the Volunteer Movement were at a low ebb. The manhood of Western Australia is remarkable for its willingness to answer the call to serve and the call of 1872 was no exception. The second (adolescent) stage commenced under good auspices. The conditions of enlistment, service, discipline, and command were improved. Corps were raised at Perth, Fremantle, Guildford, Geraldton, Bunbury, Albany, York, Northampton, Northam and Newcastle. Some of these were disbanded but generally were soon replaced by others containing most of the former personnel. During this stage every corps had a separate identity and dealt direct with the Military Commandant. The Defence Force was still a collection of small corps whose opportunities to gain experience in and a knowledge of leadership and higher administration were very limited. However, the Force was growing up. In addition to Cavalry and Infantry there were now some Artillery, and as the financial position improved the three Arms joined more frequently in camps and training exercises.

By 1895 the Defence Force was sufficiently mature to enter the third (Adult) stage. Here we find, firstly several Infantry corps grouped and forming a Regiment of Four Companies under a Regimental Commander; secondly, several other similar corps (some quite new); and finally, the formation of a Brigade consisting of Brigade Headquarters and five Battalions. It will be noticed that the emphasis is on Infantry. Artillery is a costly arm of the Service and requires specialists, which would account for the relatively small proportion raised. The Archives contain no reference to Engineers, Army Service Corps, Army Medical Corps, &c, so it must be presumed no attempt was made to raise them. Some Infantry corps, certainly those at Perth, Bunbury, Geraldton and Guildford, maintained a mounted detachment which carried out cavalry duties as required. Eventually a mounted regiment was raised (in 1900) and a tactical balance achieved. It was also customary for each corps to maintain a body of Cadets who wore the uniform of the corps and appeared on corps parades.


Previous: Enrolment and Conditions of Service 

Next: Perth Volunteer Rifles


Further Reading:

Western Australian Militia, Light Horse

Western Australian Militia, Infantry


Citation: Western Australian Militia, Light Horse, The Plan in Operation

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 14 August 2009 12:15 PM EADT
Monday, 10 August 2009
Western Australian Militia, Pinjarrah Mounted Volunteers, Nominal Roll
Topic: Militia - LHW - WA

Western Australian Militia

Pinjarrah Mounted Volunteers, Nominal Roll


The following is the first Nominal Roll of the Pinjarrah Mounted Rifles as at 14 August 1867:


41 Trooper James ARCHDEACON


13 Trooper Bernard BEDINGFELD


42 Trooper John CHAMBERS

25 Trooper Henry CLARKSON

43 Trooper Waller CLIFTON

20 Trooper James COOPER

19 Trooper Joseph COOPER, and appointed Farrier

14 Trooper Thomas COOPER

12 Trooper Andrew CORNISH, and appointed Trumpeter

33 Trooper Hamlet CORNISH

11 Trooper William CORNISH


45 Trooper Joseph EACOTT

44 Trooper William EACOTT


40 Trooper Tom FARMER, and appointed Troop Sergeant Major

1 Captain Theodore FAWCETT, and appointed Captain


Trooper William HAINES

16 Trooper Henry HALL, and appointed Sergeant

34 Trooper John HAMMOND

27 Trooper William HUMUS

28 Trooper John HYDE


35 Trooper Tommy JENKINS

24 Trooper Joseph JOHNSTONE


47 Trooper P. KEEN


48 Trooper B. LANE

18 Trooper Joseph LOGUE

7 Trooper Thomson LOGUE, and appointed Sergeant

26 Trooper William LOGUE


9 Trooper Edward McLARTY

31 Trooper Hector McLARTY

8 Trooper John McLARTY, and appointed Corporal

4 Trooper David MURRAY

36 Trooper George MURRAY

3 Trooper John G. MURRAY, and appointed Lieut.


2 Sergeant Tom OAKLEY


23 Trooper Charles PATERSON

22 Trooper George PATERSON

21 Trooper William PATERSON

37 Trooper John POLLARD

10 Trooper Michael POLLARD

15 Trooper Stewart PRICE

38 Trooper Joseph PUMPHREY


30 Trooper Alfred ROBINSON


46 Trooper William SPRATT

50 Trooper George STINTON

17 Trooper Henry SUTTON

39 Trooper James SWEENEY, who was not elected

Trooper Alexander SWEENY, who subsequently resigned)


5 Trooper Frederick THOMAS, and appointed Corporal

49 Trooper George THOMAS

6 Trooper Joseph THOMAS

32 Trooper Alexander THOMSON


29 Trooper William WALDECK, who subsequently left the district



Previous: Pinjarrah Mounted Volunteers

Next: Union Troop of W.A. Mounted Volunteers 


Further Reading:

Western Australian Militia, Light Horse

Western Australian Militia, Infantry


Citation: Western Australian Militia, Pinjarrah Mounted Volunteers, Nominal Roll

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 14 August 2009 12:12 PM EADT
The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia, Perth Volunteer Rifles
Topic: Militia - LHW - WA

Western Australian Militia

Perth Volunteer Rifles


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. 26 – 29:

Perth Volunteer Rifles

A meeting of citizens held on 13/9/1861 decided to seek authority to raise a corps of Infantry volunteers of a nominal strength of 100 all ranks, to be designated the "Perth Volunteer Rifles". Authority was given, enrolment commenced, muskets were borrowed from the Colonial Store, and training and organization took shape under the personal supervision of Lt-Col. Bruce. By-laws were approved on 5/10/1861, revised in June 1862, and finally, under the direction of the Military Commandant, amalgamated with those of other corps in one general code.

There was no difficulty in raising and maintaining the designed strength of 100. Civil servants and ex-members of the British Army enrolled freely.

The Gazette of 6/8/1862 which created the corps also carried the appointment of Mr F. S. Leake as Captain Commanding and a few days later Mr M. Dyett was appointed Lieutenant and Mr J. B. Roe Ensign. On the day of gazettal the roll bore the names of three officers, 95 other ranks, 13 bandsmen, 12 honorary members, and 20 cadets. 100 new Enfield muzzle-loading percussion rifles recently sent from England were issued on 1/6/1862, and by means not recorded the corps became possessed of a Regimental Colour. A sketch drawn in 1863 depicts the members wearing long tunics, white trousers, and shakoes-a similar uniform to that worn at the time by Infantry of the British Army.

As early as March 1862 it was found that Government assistance was necessary in connection with administration and cost of providing uniform, as well as an allowance for a drill instructor. Government agreed to assist to the extent of ten shillings per annum for each efficient Volunteer. Good progress was made. Drills were frequent and the corps paraded in conjunction with the Fremantle corps on such occasions as the Presentation of Colours at Fremantle in 1862, the Presentation of Officers Commissions at Government House in 1863, and a Birthday Review in May 1864. At Mount Eliza in 1864 the corps participated in the first annual rifle meeting held in the Colony (incidentally the prizes were donated by private citizens).

Then trouble arose in 1872. On top of the chronic shortage of public funds a form of financial depression prevailed. Among the drastic economies proposed by the Executive Council was the withholding of the annual grant then due to the Volunteer corps. The original grant of ten shillings had been increased to fifteen shillings and the prospect of losing this was most unpalatable to the Volunteers. Captain Leake vainly protested against the Executive Council's proposal and as a result resigned his commission on 9/2/1872. Lieut. Roe declined promotion to the vacant position whereupon the Governor appointed Capt. B. H. Burke, Staff Officer for Enrolled Pensioners, to Command. The corps elected committee then took over conduct of the battle, the Secretary calling a mass meeting of members for the night of 21/2/1872. An invitation was sent to Capt. Burke to attend and occupy a seat on the platform - he attended but refused the platform seat. During the course of the meeting several speakers violently berated the Executive Council, the most violent being a member of the Civil Service. The whole proceedings were extremely subversive and an immediate report thereon was made to the Military Commandant, who early next morning conferred with the Governor. On the same day, i.e., 22nd February, 1872, the Government Gazette carried an Extraordinary Proclamation disbanding the corps for "Insubordination."

The result was not due to any lack of loyalty to the Crown. It was due to the ultra-democratic nature of the Rules and By-laws which permitted soldiers with a grievance to meet and openly criticize their superior officers, the presumed authors of their discomfiture. The self-same Bylaws etc. soon were made inoperative.

The Fremantle corps having been disbanded at an earlier date, the Volunteer Force now consisted solely of two small mounted corps with a total strength of well under 100 all ranks.

Officers of Perth Volunteer Rifles

Captain S Leake - 6 August 1862
Captain M Dyett - 15 August 1862
Lieutenant JB Roe - 15 August 1862
Ensign WH Knight - 7 June 1864


Previous:  The Plan in Operation

Next: Fremantle Volunteer Rifles


Further Reading:

Western Australian Militia, Light Horse

Western Australian Militia, Infantry


Citation: The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia, Perth Volunteer Rifles

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 14 August 2009 12:07 PM EADT

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