Fremantle Stuff > Organisations > Military

Military

The usual practice was to have soldiers from one regiment of British soldiers at a time in the colony, though there was some overlapping. More detail to follow, but for the moment here are the summary details.

The 39th Regiment of Foot were here 1826-1831.
63rd: 1829-1834
21st: 1833-1840
51st: 1840-1847
96th: 1847-1849
99th: 1849-1956
20th company of Royal Sappers and Miners/Engineers: 1850-1862
12th: 1856-1863
14th: 1868-1869

The 63rd Regiment of Foot landed with Stirling. They very soon established the alignment of their Barrack along the track which therefore came to be known as Barrack Street. The rectangular area called 'Barracks Square' took in all the land that is now bounded by Pier, Hay, and Barrack Streets, and St George's Terrace. The first building, indicated below as Guard House (which it later became) was the original barrack building.

map

1851 map of Barracks Square - without the Guard House, but showing the Jail where the Deanery would soon be instead

square

Conjectural drawing thanks to Nevill: 22. Note that the church shown is the north-south aligned 1841 church, not the present east-west aligned cathedral (1880).

The following photograph puts some flesh on the above drawing.

institute

This 1868 photo shows Howick (Hay) St from Pier Street to the corner of Barrack Street, where the Town Hall is under construction. The building on the left is the Swan River Mechanics Institute, founded 1851, while the one in the middle is the Freemasons Lodge, 1867.

As an example of the way the soldiers were regarded, and also of what they were here to do, these are newspaper reports for the arrival and departure of the 51st.

Perth Gazette and WA Journal Saturday 27 June 1840 page 2

51st Regt.-The detachment to relieve the detachment of the 21st regiment, landed at Fremantle on Thursday last, and marched to Perth yesterday morning. The 21st left Perth at 8 o'clock, on the same day. This morning, the detachment of the 51st was inspected, on the barrack ground, by his Excellency the Governor [Hutt], and the Commandant, Major Irwin. His Excellency addressed the men, and referred to the duties they would be employed upon; expressing his satisfaction at the high commendations they had received from the Colonel of their regiment ; a character, he trusted, they would endeavor to support: many of them would be called upon to occupy positions for the protection of the settlers, and the control of any lawless acts on the part of the natives ; and he expected a diligent observance of the instructions' conveyed to their officers.

Perth Gazette and WA Journal Saturday 13 March 1847 page 2

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/647424

Our contemporary, on Wednesday last, in announcing the ball to be given in the evening, to the officers of the 51st and 96th Regts, made the extraordinary assertion that the inhabitants of the colony "were anxious to bid farewell to the former and welcome the latter." We trust our friends of the 51st will forgive this little piece of Irishism on the part of the Editor, or, at any rate, not to suppose that he, in this case, faithfully represents the true feelings and wishes of the community, who, we are persuaded, are far from wishing or even willing to to part with those who, in their seven years residence among us, have ever shewn themselves to be, both officers and men, a generous, kind-hearted, and well-conducted body. As to the inhabitants' eagerness to welcome the 96th, who certainly may be as estimable (but of this we shall be better able to judge on a longer acquaintace), we believe this springs from an inherent feeling of good fellowship with our countrymen, rather than from any wish to get rid of our old friends.
The two companies of the 51st marched for Fremantle on Friday morning and e're [sic] their departure we witnessed many a friendly parting clasp between them and the civilians, with whom they have ever been on the best of terms, and we are certain no troops ever left a colony with more good wishes for their prosperity, on the part of the settlers, than those who leave us by the Java, which vessel is expected to sail on Sunday or Monday morning. The strength of the detachment embarked/includes 6 officers, 9 sergeants, 4 corporals, 95 rank and file, 21 women, and 31 children; those remaining, 2 sergeants, 1 corporal, 31 privates, 14 women, and 23 children, including invalids who have arranged to receive their pensions in the colony.  

References and Links

Thanks to Diane Oldman for the arrival and departure dates.

Hasluck, Alexandra & Mollie Lukis 1977, Victorian and Edwardian Perth from Old Photographs, John Ferguson, Sydney.

Neville, Simon J. 2007, Perth and Fremantle: Past and Present, privately published, WA.


Garry Gillard | New: 4 June, 2018 | Now: 5 May, 2019