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Re: Volunteer Southern Rifles

From: Matt
Date: 2/2/2002
Time: 10:20:02 PM
Remote Name:


The victorian volunteer rifle corps was raised in 1854, due to the outbreak of war with Russia. 2000 men volunteered for the Melbourne Rifle regt, Geelong also raised a corps. A mounted volunteer yeomanry (mounted police type role) also was raised. The Melbourne unit also was trained with arty pieces ( this part of the rifles formed the Royal Victorian volunteer artillery in 1855). With the end of the war in 1856 interest waned a little. Renewed interest was shown in 1859 with the outbreak of war in europe. Captain George Dean Pitt was appointed colonel of the regt in 1859. The Victorian volunteer rifles consisted of ten coys in the melbourne district, The Geelong corps three coys, other corps were raised in Portland, Belfast, and Warrnambool districts this totaled to three battalions. In 1862 the north Melbourne district battalion consisted of Pentridge, North Melbourne, West Melbourne, Fitzroy, Williamstown, East Collingwood and Carlton. The southern districts Battalion consisted of Brighton, 1st and 2nd St Kilda, Melbourne city, Hawthorn, Kew, Richmond, Emerald hill, Prahran and south Yarra coys. The country battalion consisted of Geelong, Portland, Belfast, Warrnambool, Ballarat, Castlemaine, Sandhurst,and Maryborough coys. The combined total of the three battalions was 2420 men. Each unit fuctioned under its own rules and therefore approved its own uniform design to be distictive of the other coys. Each member of the unit voted to pay Five shillings per annum for the privilege of being able to parade twice weekly. In 1870 all Imperial toops were withdrawn from the colony, the Victorian govt re-organised the rifle corps. The unit was renamed the 1st and 2nd metropolitain rifles. In 1872 all the other rifle corps were amalgamated and divided into battalions. In 1883 the Volunteer movement was disbanded and replaced by a Militia (partially paid). I hope this information is helpful. the best place for this information is from the Royal United Services Institute or your local RSL. Your local library should also be able to help. I would be interested in a copy of the photo/print you have especially if it is dated pre 1870. Also do you know what coy he was attached to? I am currently studing hustory at uni in Canberra and would like to do my masters on pre federation volunteer units. If you have any further questions please feel free to drop me a message. Cheers Matt Goulburn

Last changed: February 02, 2002