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Victorian Volunteer rifles info for Glenys@quiteacre.com

From: Matthewwillianso@aol.com
Date: 2/19/2002
Time: 10:32:02 PM
Remote Name:


Glenys I hope this info is useful. The victorian volunteer rifle corps was raised in 1854, due to the outbreak of war with Russia.(Also Australian military headquaters had moved from Sydney to Melbourne) 2000 men volunteered for the Melbourne Rifle regt, Geelong also raised an independent corps. A mounted volunteer yeomanry (mounted police type units) also was raised (most coys raised mounted units in there own individual distictive uniform mostly copying English styles)these units were all grouped under the name "Victorian Volunteer Yeomanry Cavalry.By 1862 these units were "Melbourne mounted rifles","Keaton mounted rifles", "Geelong mounted rifles", Victorian volunteer light dragoons", "Bacchus Marsh mounted rifles", "Castlemaine light dragoons",and the "Sandhurst troop one cavalry". the total of the mounted corps of some five hundred and seventy men.All members supplied there own horses and to meet the cost of there own uniforms, saddles and accourements. The Melbourne rifles 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 (crimean war)interest waned a little. Renewed interest was shown in late 1857-1858 with the renewed outbreak of war in India and in Italy(Italian war of independence,Russia and France had also expanded in the pacific and the American civil war was brewing). In 1858 the yeomanry cavalry corps was bestowed the title of "Royal". They then became the "1st or Royal Victorian Volunteer Calvary", the corps also recieved there own standard, which also gave the corps considerable prestige. Captain George Dean Pitt was appointed colonel of the inf 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. (entusiasm no doubt because of the Maori war in New Zealand) 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 there own supplied and paid for uniform). The officers were normally voted into there positions. On the 6th of September 1870 all of the Imperial toops were withdrawn from the colony. The Victorian govt re-organised the rifle corps in August 1870. The infantry regiment was renamed the 1st and 2nd metropolitain rifles. The mounted unit became known as the Prince of Wales Victorian Volunteer light horse (the uniform was modelled on the 19th Princess Alexandra of wales own Hussars), in 1874 they musted two hunred and ninty men all told and in 1881 the sandhurst troop had the acted as the escort gaurd for the visit of Prince George (later King George V) and Prince Albert and the rest of the vice regal party. 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 Returned servicemans league. 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 NSW Australia

Last changed: February 19, 2002