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Category: Badges

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This page is a sub category index

Hat badges of Australian Colonial & pre WW1 Units

General Service Shako plate as worn by British, Australian & New Zealand troops towards the end of the Victorian era.

  • Badges for colonial units were, in many cases, almost exact copies of British badges. Many of those that weren't exact were still copied to some degree.

  • Some were adventurous and added an Australian touch to the design but most stayed with the traditional.

 There were three major designs used. 

  • The Bugle Horn (French Horn) badges adopted by the British Light Infantry units from the 1770s onwards were used quite a lot in Australia. 
The bugle horn badge shown left was 1 of several common designs. 

It was the badge of the Victorian Rifles 1906 to 1912. 

Before that other variations were used in Victoria and elsewhere. (Motto translates to  "Death rather than Dishonour")

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Identical design, smaller badges were won in some units as collar dogs, especially by Officers.

1st NSW Volunteer Rifle Regiment 1854

The bugle-horn, (in Rifle Regiment parlance the 'horn'), occupies a place of honour because of its importance in the Light Division. Movement in extended order could not be controlled by voice, so it was directed by the officers' and sergeants' whistles, worn on their cross-belts and by cow-horns carried by buglers with every company and platoon. 

Different calls were devised to meet those needs, many of which were later adopted by other units of the British Army. Calls ended on a short, clipped note, which was the executive for action as in a word of command. Bugle 'calls' are not referred to as 'calls' but as 'horns'.

  • Adelaide Volunteer Rifles 1868

  • The second commonly used design was the Cross of St George in a Royal Garter or wreath and bearing either a 4 or a 5 star Southern Cross. This to was used in several colonies as can be seen in the 2 examples below. There were many others.

The "Badge of the Colony" of NSW 1880/1890 Victorian Military forces 1884
  • The third commonly used base for a badge was the  8 pointed star (and sometimes the Star of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath. >>> 
    • This also forms the design for the "pips" worn by Army Officers.
  • These 2 stars, similar but different, formed the base of many designs right throughout the Empire.


Tasmanian Defence Force

Albany Rifle Volunteers (WA)

There were many other designs and variations as can be seen on the pages that follow but these were the three most common basic designs. Some  (as Tasmanian Defence Force) combined 2 of the basic designs (Star & garter with a wreath). Some (as the Albany Rifle Volunteers) combined all 3, star, garter and bugle horn with a wreath added for good luck.

Crests and Unit badges of the colonial era

  • Queensland Mounted Infantry; 

  • Military Forces, New South Wales;

  • Brisbane Garrison Battery, Queensland; 

  • New Zealand Volunteers; 

  • 1st Queenslanders, Moreton Regiment;

  • Victorian Garrison Artillery; 

  • 2nd Regiment Queensland; 

  • 3rd Regiment Townsville, Queensland.

  • Victorian Horse Artillery Brigade; 
  • Victorian Rangers; 
  • Belfast Garrison Artillery, Victoria; 
  • Portland Garrison Artillery, Victoria; 
  • 2nd Battalion Infantry Brigade, Victoria;
  • Mounted Rifles, Victoria;
  • Port Fairy Garrison Artillery, Victoria;
  • Queensland Permanent Artillery

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