Colonial Forces Study Group (Qld)

Queensland Military History: 1860-1901

Tactical Appreciation

Military and naval exercises featured regulalry from the late 1870s, and while not as common in the earlier years, were nevertheless considered important. These exercises were often the only time the public were able to view their forces 'in action', so the events often took the form of a social occassion for the general public. Mock battles, or 'sham-fights' as they were known, sometimes were minor local events but in other cases ran on a larger scale, involving naval and military forces stretched across wide areas. Brisbane was the scene for some of the larger exercises involving thousands of troops, however they were also conducted at other places in the colony, often in association with annual training encampments.

The Shearer's Strike of 1891, which saw around 1600 troops despatched to the western areas of the colony, put much of the benefits of these exercises into play.

An examination of Force capabilities will be presented here using contemporary newspaper accounts and official QDF reports and correspondence.


Defence Force Manoeuvres, Brisbane Courier, 28 September 1885

The Attack On Brisbane, The Brisbane Courier, Tuesday 27 April 1886

Mock battle performed by 'B' Company of the 1st Queensland (Moreton) Regiment in camp at Lytton, ca. 1890. John Oxley Library image#12717
Queensland Defence Force members from Charters Towers. Photo taken at original Boys State School. John Oxley Library image#196511