Find records on the defence forces and Tasmania in times of war.
See also more about Tasmania and World War I.
British Regiments 1803-1870
- The Marines (later Royal Marines) who came with the First Fleet to Australia were followed by other British regiments until 1870.
- The Regiments kept civil law and order and were convict guards and overseers.
- For a list of regiments in Tasmania see the Australian Army Museum Tasmania’s Information Sheet 11 (PDF 128KB)
- Regiments took their records as they travelled – see the United Kingdom National Archives for holdings.
- The State Library of Tasmania collection holds microform copies of pay lists and some British regiment muster rolls (Australian Joint Copying Project WO12), reel numbers 3719-3917. See also pay list index in History Room. To find the regiment number, see The British Army in Australia Index of Personnel (with regiment number) by James Hugh Donohoe.
- Military pensioners came to Tasmania in the late 1840s, often as guards on convict ships
- Pensioners received a grant of 5 acres near a town in return for being available for service at short notice.
- The most used records are the returns filed in the records of the Colonial Secretary’s Office. They are sorted by ship arrival dates. Details include the name, age and religion of the pensioner, whether a wife arrived, and the sex and ages of any children.
Defence forces of Tasmania 1824-1901
- The Colonial (later Chief Secretary’s) Departments contain most accounts of Tasmania’s military
- For the period 1824-1874 search headings such as “ military”, “batteries”, “artillery”, “gunpowder”.
- For later times, try terms such as “torpedo” and “defence” etc.
- In the late 1850s a volunteer movement began in Tasmania. A Corp started in Hobart in 1859 and another in Launceston in June 1860.
- In 1885 the Defence Act repealed all previous ‘Volunteer’ Acts. Col. H Barnard commanded a reserve force of four companies in Hobart and one in Launceston.
- After the last British regiment left in 1870, the colonies were responsible for their own defence.
- Colonial military force administration passed to the Commonwealth in 1901, following Federation.
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