Military and defence

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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

Military pensioners

  • 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  • In 1885 the Defence Act repealed all previous ‘Volunteer’ Acts.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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