Unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Services 

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Uniforms. Australian, New Zealand, some Allies and some enemy

Uniforms used to be chosen to be pretty or stylish or foppish depending on what King, Queen or Emperor happened to be on the throne at the time. 

<< for example, this fine gentleman from the 'Rum Corps' cuts a fine figure, but can he fight?

Up to and even during the early years of the Boer war the British army had stylish scarlet tunics with white cross-belts. As the Boers said, 'They make a dammed fine aiming point". 

The Australian army has always needed to consider serviceability, durability and cost as we have never had a large peace time army with little to do except 'polish it's brass ware".

 Australia has always waited until a war starts and then we raise a civilian army, equip it for war, not the parade ground and send it off. 

This has led to jackets that actually keep the cold out, hats that keep the rain out of your eyes and the sun off your neck, boots that last through a tough campaign.

On this page and it's offshoots we will look at uniforms through the years, both Australian and enemy. 

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Occasionally I will throw in photo of an allied uniform just for good measure. Choose a page from the list and enjoy. >>>>     >>>>

It does not matter how fancy a uniform gets, or how plain it is, it still needs buttons. This is a WW2 era Army metal button.>>

A post 1953 button

For a full account of military buttons


1903 era Australian Commonwealth buttons (Edward VII)

A South Australian pre-Federation Volunteers button, (lower right)  a pre-Federation colonial Victorian (upper right) and 3 different Edward V11 Commonwealth buttons.

A fully loaded Australian Infantry soldier of the current period.

Intelligence Corps buttons with Tudor (King's) Crown

Private J B Mills in his Coronation Contingent uniform (1902) and the 2nd pattern Rising Sun collar badge. He served with the 2nd Western Australian Mounted Infantry during the Boer War. He was killed in action at Gallipoli, 31 May 1915.


You might call them Identity Disks or dog tags or dead meat tickets or corpse labels or any one of a dozen different names, but every soldier gets a set.

 These WW1 ones were 1 leather 1 aluminium. Now they are always metal as the leather ones proved useless.  More details

They hang around the neck mostly but some Americans in SVN took to wearing one in their boot so that they would be identified if KIA, regardless of whether they were blown up by a mine or hit with small arms. 

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Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces