Topic: Militia - LHW - WA
Western Australian Militia
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. 73 - 74:
Lack of adequate finance has ever been the peacetime bugbear of armed forces. Money spent in this way is not an investment but an insurance which returns not interest or dividends but an intangible bonus in the form of fighting efficiency which varies according to the amount of premium and the way it is applied. A soldier must be dressed, armed, equipped and trained to a standard at least equal to that of any likely opponent. Except in time of national emergency, the average politician is ever ready to whittle down the amounts asked for by this non-revenue producing organization without which it cannot make any worthwhile progress.
The Executive Council of the Colony was always short of funds for developmental works and had little to spare for Defence. It adopted the cheapest possible form and for some years the Volunteer Movement had a hand-to-mouth existence. No definite allocation of funds was made until 1884 when the Budget set aside the modest sum of £540 as Capitation Fees for 540 efficient Volunteers.
During the period 1862-72 the annual cost was small, being confined to an allowance of 10/- per efficient, plus a small amount for ammunition and an occasional purchase of weapons. In 1874 the estimated cost of raising a Company of Infantry of 67 all ranks was £250. Calculated over successive quinquennial periods the average annual per capita cost was as follows:- (Figures in parenthesis indicate number of men under arms)1873-77 = £1/18/2 - (365) ,
1878-82 = £3/7/- - (588),
1883-87 = £5/7/6 - (578),
1888-92 = £5/15/1 - (610),
1893-95 = £12/19/- - (737).
The original allowance of 10/- per efficient was increased to 15/- in 1872, to 20/- in 1882, and to 30/- in 1886. Other factors were(a) More and better weapons,
(b) Purchase of camp and training equipment,
(c) Payment of Staff and Instructors,
(d) Erection of buildings and defence works.
The fighting value of the average Volunteer was infinitely higher in 1895 than it was in 1872 if the premium was higher so was the dividend.
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Further Reading:Western Australian Militia, Light Horse
Citation: The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia, Finance