Helmet, white, 1887 colonial pattern, complete with ball ornament badge and chin chain. Made in England for A. Bowley, Melbourne. Part of complete 1893 Victorian Permanent Artillery Officer's uniform. Inscribed inside 'H. McKenna'. (The Australian War Memorial holds several other uniforms inscribed with the same name.)

When the uniform was used, the Victorian Permanent Artillery boasted 16 officers and 252 other ranks. After Federation it was amalgamagted with the artilleries of the other states to form the Royal Australian Artillery Regiment.

The Victorian Permanent Artillery was part of the Victorian volunteer forces, local regiments who undertook the naval and military defence of the colony of Victoria. Melburnians lived with the fear of invasion by a foreign navy sailing into Port Phillip Bay. Of particular concern were the colonial ambitions of France, Germany and Russia in the Pacific. Local citizens established volunteer army corps in the 1850s. In 1856, Victoria became the first Australian colony to establish its own navy, with the acquisition of the war sloop Victoria. When the British army left Victoria in 1870, the volunteer corps and Victorian Navy shared responsibility for defence. Fortifications and gun batteries were erected at St Kilda, Brighton, Williamstown and the heads of Port Phillip Bay to confront enemy ships. But fears still simmered. When the telegraph line to Europe was accidentally severed in 1888, many took it as a sign that a Russian invasion had begun.

A permanent Victorian artillery force was established in 1870, but was disbanded in 1880. It was re-formed in 1882, and two years later three groups of field artillery were amalgamated to form the Metropolitan Brigade of Field Artillery. By 1890 it boasted 16 officers and 252 other ranks. In 1899 the permanent artilleries of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland were amalgamated as a precursor to Federation. The Victorian artillery became known as the Victorian Regiment of Royal Australian Artillery. After Federation, the Royal Australian Artillery and the permanent artilleries of the other states were combined to form the Royal Australian Artillery Regiment, consisting of two batteries: A from Sydney and B from Melbourne and Brisbane.

The structure of the forces reflected the social hierarchies of the time. Wealthy and influential citizens provided land and resources, and held higher ranks in the forces.

Physical Description

Helmet white with ball ornament badge and chin strap made of chain and leather.

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