An Introduction

Nowadays military establishments are usually termed ‘bases’ – perhaps the American influence. In the past many terms have been used – with not a little confusion: military posts, outposts, outstations, garrisons, depots, barracks.

Perth Gazette 23 Sep 1833

Upon arrival, the Redcoats of the various detachments were almost immediately despatched to the Colony’s military posts. Over the period of their service in Western Australia, over thirty locations were established. I hope to be able to provide information on the most significant of these.

There has been a better survival rate of ‘convict places’ and indeed the archaeologists and academic historians have given much attention to those structures. The Redcoat Military Bases may prove a more difficult subject on or under the ground!

This is a work in progress … and my future research may prove me wrong … but I understand that Kojonup Barracks may be the only structure standing of the military posts in Western Australia. The Barracks, in this case, using the term specifically for soldiers’ accommodation, has no doubt been changed slightly, but basically remains the design built for (and probably by) the 51st detachment in 1845. It may have been used by some men of the 96th who relieved the 51st from 1847 to 1849. I was delighted to see this piece of history’s survival when I visited the Barracks building in February 2019.

 

The National Library of Australia has commenced a programme of digitising the microfilm of the Australian Joint Copying Project (AJCP). This includes Monthly Returns from 1837 to 1865; troop distribution figures are part of this return. Click here for more information about War Office records.

In this example (left), the 21st’s detachment of troop distribution at military posts for the month of September 1837 is shown. York scores one lieutenant, one sergeant and 35 rank and file; Kojonup one lieutenant but only seven rank and file.

As research progresses, more information will be available on the Redcoat military posts in Western Australia.