Colonial Forces Study Group (Qld)

Queensland Military History: 1860-1901

Fortifications & Structures
Military Barracks on Thursday Island, Queensland, ca. 1900.  John Oxley Library image#63989

An organisation designed to defend the colony required a reasonable infra-strucure network, not only from which to mount a defence, but also facilities to enable training, supply, accommodation and administration for the force.

It took the Queensland Government more than two decades before it began to accept its responsibilities seriously in this regard. Prior to the Jervois/Scratchley report of 1877 on the defences of the colony, there had been little investment in defence. The main local defence facility of the 1860s was the Volunteer Armoury in Brisbane, which had actually been built as part of the 1830 British Army barracks.

Even after the British Army withdrew from Australia in 1869, major facilities such as Victoria Barracks were allocated to the Police rather than the Volunteers.

No. 1 Field Battery of the Queensland Artillery on parade. Parade ground of the Queensland Artillery at Adelaide Street. Drill Shed in the background of the photograph.  John Oxley Library image#82657
There were logical reasons for that, the police requiring barrack accommodation while the Volunteers did not. It was not until the formation of a Permanent Artillery within the QDF in 1885 that a military force returned to Victoria Barracks.

Other facilities, such as offices, supply stores, magazines for ammunition, drill halls, and rifle ranges, were rare throughout the 1860s and 1870s, however a few began to appear from the 1880s. Fortifications, initially recommended as part of the Jervois/Scratchley scheme of defence, were also commenced around this time.

Research is presently underway on a range of fortifications and structures used by the colonial forces of Queensland. Shortly we will add data on specific headings such as Armouries; Barracks; Drill Halls; Fortifications; Magazines; Offices; Rifle Ranges; Stores.