The impetus for this Project had its beginnings in a small piece of research I did for the heritage interests of Toodyay in late 2017. I dabbled in the musters and pay lists of the 51st and 96th regiments of foot in order to establish the posting of certain British Army privates in the Toodyay area in the mid-19th century. It was then but a short step to realise that the British Military Establishment had provided permanent settlers for Western Australia from detachments of at least seven regiments not only serving in Toodyay but other military posts from King George’s Sound in the South, to Champion Bay to the North, as well as Eastern districts such as Guildford and York. There were well over thirty military posts in this under-populated, large-area State. And HQ had been in Perth on Barrack Street since 1832.
The Redcoats came as a small number from New South Wales to KGS in 1826 (though none stayed) through to two companies in 1868. Some came from Britain, but most came from larger bodies of men serving in Tasmania or New South Wales. They are generally known as the Military Establishment in Western Australia.
The men of this Establishment, some with families, were not enrolled pensioners who arrived as convict guards, they were not discharged veterans who were appointed as warders and gaolers or policemen. These were men actively serving in the British Army; but it is also the case that their roles often included work in exploration and survey, aboriginal welfare, and policing. It is also possible that once discharged from the Army, they took employment in the ‘security industry’.
The Regiments under review in Western Australia are:
39th (Dorsetshire) Regiment of Foot 1826-1831.
63rd (West Suffolk) Regiment of Foot 1829-1834.
21st (Royal North British Fuzileers) Regiment of Foot 1833-1840.
51st (2nd Yorkshire West Riding) The Kings Own Light Infantry 1840-1847.
96th Regiment of Foot 1847-1849.
99th (Lanarkshire) Regiment of Foot 1849-1856.
12th (East Suffolk) Regiment of Foot 1856-1863.
14th (Buckinghamshire) Regiment of Foot 1868-1869.
The soldiers identified and/or profiled are:
Officers, NCOs and Other Ranks who retired or discharged from the Army and settled in Western Australia. In some instances they may have returned to Britain or moved to other countries or States within Australia subsequent to their WA discharge.
Soldiers of all ranks who died and were buried in Western Australia while serving in the regiments above.
Other information will be offered about regimental histories, uniforms, badges, mottos, battle honours, medals, weapons and the military posts in WA.
The content of this website is a work in progress. The data is being sourced primarily from online indices and images where available. Various hard copy books and journals have also been accessed. The WO12 Musters and Pay Lists available within the Australian Joint Copying Project microfilm in the State Library of Western Australia are a major resource, along with WO17 Monthly Returns. A link to a Table of the Reel and Piece numbers is on the Sources page of this site.
Copies of birth/baptism, marriage, death/burial entries or certificates have not been purchased for individuals – this being economically untenable. Hopefully the dates and places of vital statistics will be available from indices.
All the research has been undertaken by myself and Marjorie Burton, with narrative content written by me as Website Author and Administrator, unless otherwise stated. Sources will be quoted on soldiers’ profiles or as footnotes to a narrative. There is a Sources page which links to a key to Source Abbreviations and details of relevant AJCP microfilms which are now digitised online at the National Library of Australia.
Images and Links
Throughout the website you can click on an image to see it in a new window. In the case of documents, it will usually enlarge the image. To return to the previous web page, close the new window or use the back arrow on your browser or right click on ‘Back’.
The majority of the images on the website are out of copyright or are from Wikipedia Commons; and where they are not, the source has been identified if possible.
Hyperlinks to internal pages and external websites are in red font.
I would like to acknowledge the work undertaken and the publications of the following:
The Military Establishment and Penal Settlement at King George Sound by J Sweetman 1989.
The Military Establishment in Western Australia 1829-1863 by E S and C G S Whiteley 1970.
Australia’s Redcoat Settlers by B & M Chapman 1997-2003.
These works offered extremely valuable information. Obviously the data has not changed since the research undertaken: in the main it is historically accurate. However, the means of collation and organisation has changed because of technological advances. Digitisation, scanning equipment, commercial database indices and images, Internet publishing etc. has made it easier to tackle large amounts of research, and thus more of it can be collected and presented in less time (or so we researchers hope!).
The research and presentation of this additional information has not been without personal expense, but is offered to everyone via the worldwide web without a pay wall or site registration. Enjoy.