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Category: Conflicts & periods

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The Queensland Defence Force; History & Units 1859-1911

  • 1859 - 10th December The first Governor of Queensland, Sir George Bowen arrived to proclaim the creation of the Colony of Queensland. On arrival, he noted that "there is not a single soldier in Queensland".
  • 1860 - 1st March- Government accepts services of No.1 Infantry Company and Queensland Mounted Rifles from Ipswich.
  • 1863 - 24pdr Carrons arrive
  • 1867 - 29th March- Government accepts services of No. 3 Infantry Company - The Spring Hill and Fortitude Valley Rifle Corps.
  • 1877 - - Jervois & Scratchly Review Queensland Defence Force. 
    • 11th Aug - 500 Volunteers reviewed at Queen's Park by Major Snelling.
  • 1885 - Average Strength - QDF (Land)-2599 total 
    • April. During the "war scare", 50 volunteers from the Moreton Regt are part of a composite unit sent to Ft. Lytton to "strengthen the Fort and protect the river entrance".
  • 1891 - Average Strength - QDF (Land)-4575 total - 
    • 26th Mar - 1st Regiment called-out for SHEARER'S STRIKE Left Brisbane by train for Bundaberg; Train left at Yandina (line ended) - troops marched 14kms (Full Order) through torrential rain to Cooran (line resumed). Wire sent from Cooran to Gympie requesting Hot Meal and dry socks. At Gympie, jeered/ jostled by a crowd of 300 to 400 - order given to fix bayonets and to Advance at the Charge.
  • 1893 - Average Strength - QDF (Land)-3,967 total
  • 1898 - Aug - Queensland Defence Force (A Batt) issued with .303 Martini-Enfields 
    • Nov - Queensland Defence Force directed to "hand in" all Martini-Henry Arms
  • 1899 - - First Volunteers from Queensland leave for South Africa
  • 1901 - 22nd Jan - Death of Her Majesty Queen Victoria - 
    • Absorption of State Defence Forces into the Commonwealth Military Forces. - 
    • Special Parade for Inauguration of Commonwealth (Melbourne) 
    • 25th May - Duke of York reviews Queensland Defence Force at Ft. Lytton.
  • 1902 - - Queensland Defence Force issued with .303 Lee-Enfields 
  • 1903 - March - Queensland units absorbed into Commonwealth Defence Force.
  • 1910 - - Lord Kitchener reviews Queensland Defence Force at Ft. Lytton.
  • 1911- 22nd Jun - Last parade of "Redcoats" held at Exhibition Grounds (Coronation Day Parade). 
    • 1st Jul - New Organisation, Queensland now to have 12 Infantry Battalions.


  • Infantry
    • The First Queensland (Moreton) Regiment
      The Second Queensland (Wide Bay and Burnett) Regiment
      The Third Queensland (Kennedy) Regiment
      The Fourth Queensland (Darling Downs) Regiment
      The Fifth Queensland (Port Curtis) Regiment
  • Volunteers
    • Queensland Volunteer Rifles
      Queensland Irish Volunteer Corps
      Queensland Scottish Volunteer Corps
      Queensland Teacher' Volunteer Corps
      Cadet Corps


1887; Queensland Scottish Rifle Volunteers; upper left: volunteers wearing kilts, with pipe and drum band outside Government House, upper right: double line of volunteers, wearing kilts and pith helmets, mounted officer behind, lower: large group with pipe and drum band, most wearing kilts, all with pith helmets, mounted officer, two men at left of image wearing trousers
  • Engineers
    • Brisbane Engineers
      Submarine Mining Section
  • Artillery
    • A Battery, Permanent Force
      Brisbane Field Battery
      Moreton Field Battery
      Brisbane Garrison Battery
      Bowen Garrison Battery
      Cairns Garrison Battery
      Townsville Garrison Battery

Bowen Garrison Battery documents

Bowen Garrison taken in 1888  during a training program I think. George Turner is one of the officers in the front, probably the taller one, according to oral history on our family. Beryl Turner

  • Mounted Infantry
    • Moreton Mounted Infantry
      Darling Downs Mounted Infantry
      Warrego Mounted Infantry
      Wide Bay Mounted Infantry
      Rockhampton Mounted Infantry
      Charters Towers Mounted Infantry
  • Medical Services
    • Brisbane Ambulance Corps (detachment at Ipswich)
      Wide Bay Ambulance Corps (detachment at Maryborough)
      Kennedy Ambulance Corps (detachment at Charters Towers)


  • Ships

    • Gunboats
      • Spitfire (1859-1860)
        Gayundah (1884-1922)
        Paluma (1884-1916)
    • Auxiliary Gunboat
      • Bonito (1887-1963)
        Bream (1887-?)
        Stingaree (1887-?)
        Pumba (1887-?)
        Dolphin (1887-?)
    • Torpedo Boat
      • Mosquito (1884-1910)
        Midge (1888-1914
    • Minelayer
      • Miner (1886-1902)
    • Survey Vessel
      • Pearl
  • Companies
    • Brisbane Naval Brigade
      Townsville Naval Brigade
      Maryborough Naval Brigade
      Rockhampton Naval Brigade
      Cairns Naval Brigade
Details from

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