They supported the British Empire with soldiers from the six colonies – or by 1901, the new Australian Commonwealth. Five waves of Australian troops served, mainly in mounted units.
Dating from 1900-02, a remarkably complete uniform of an Australian serviceman emerged at Teesside auction house Vectis (20.83% buyer’s premium) on September 21. Described as having some age/service wear but in generally excellent condition, it was estimated at £300-500.
Displayed on a mannequin, it comprised tunic, riding breeches, gaiters, slouch hat (all with insignia and rank badges of a colour sergeant), two canvas ammunition bandoliers, army issue canteen and leather belt with ammunition pouch (brass belt buckle).
The uniform was one of 26 lots in the auction from the same source, who put various consignments through Vectis – all military related – earlier this year. It sold for £3000 and is now heading back to Australia after a successful online bid.
Another item from the vendor was a group of British Boer war issue leather equipment with condition the same as the uniform. Totalling eight pieces also including binoculars by Dolland of London, it was bought for £550 (estimate £90-150) by a US online bidder.