Member Notices
The Rifle Club Movement and Australian Defence 1860-1920

The early Volunteer rifle companies formed in some parts of Australia in 1854 and in a second wave from 1860 were de facto rifle clubs.  With the formation of militia units in most colonies of Australia in 1883-1884, civilian rifle clubs began to gain steadily in popularity.  The Boer War caused a rapid expansion – in Victoria alone by 1902 nearly 20,000 were members of rifle clubs. 

While each colony – then State – developed rifle associations of very different character, by the time universal military service was introduced throughout Australia from 1910, rifle club members were asked to contribute more.  They formed part of Australia’s mobilisation plans.  In 1914 however, and the formation of the 1st AIF, the need for rifle clubs to help defend Australia was almost nil.  In 1920 senior generals back from war tried to disband the movement altogether.

MHSA Victoria Branch member Andrew Kilsby is writing a PhD on the subject through the Australian Defence Force Academy@UNSW.  He would be very pleased to hear from any members who may have any records or information pertinent to the period in question regarding the structure, role, and composition of the rifle club movement in Australia.

Andrew can be contacted through the Victorian Branch Secretary 

HMAS Sydney 1934
Military Historical Society of Australia
Victorian Branch Inc
The Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research

Andrew Cormack BA, FSA, the Honorary Editor of The Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research recently contacted the Federal Secretary, Kristen Alexander. He advised that the Interests of the Society for Army Historical Research embrace Army and Regimental history, military antiquities and pictures, uniforms, badges and medals, arms and equipment, customs and traditions and the history of land warfare in general. The Society is also interested in the study of campaigns, commanders and the political aspects of war from the sixteenth century to the 1960s.

The Journal reflects the members' interests and the results of their own research. It is produced to a very high technical standard, is widely recognized as being at the forefront of British military studies, and is internationally renowned for its consistent interest, variety and scholarship.

Andrew advised the Federal Secretary that it has been some time since The Journal has received a submission from an Australian author and he would be delighted to consider papers from members of the Military Historical Society of Australia relating to either the British forces in Australia or Australian forces operating under the British Crown for publication. His contact details are

Andrew Cormack BA, FSA

Royal Air Force Museum London, Hendon, London, United Kingdom NW9 5LL


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