Cadet companies could be formed after 1884 in any Victorian school in detachments of not less than 20. Armed with the Francotte breech loading rifle, the cadets were supplied with ammunition at half price by the government. A trophy shield for shooting was keenly contested. It had to be won three times before becoming the property of the winner. It was finally won in 1891 by the Kensington State School Corps. Medals were also awarded, such as the Melbourne Senior Cadets medal awarded to Cadet Garbutt for rifle shooting in 1889 (NU 20056).

A battalion of senior cadets formed the recruitment link between the cadet movement and the militia. Former senior cadets helped provide soldiers for Victorian contingents in the Boer War. The cadets had been trained in military operations, were used to discipline, and had learned drill, weapons training and care of their equipment.

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