Talk:Colonial forces of Australia

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Do you think it should be split into separate articles for each colony? --Astrokey44 09:45, 29 May 2007 (UTC)


This article has quite a lot of content and probably would probably be able to be worked to GA class or higher in time if references could be added. A basic rule of thumb is at least one citation at the end of each paragraph, but sometimes more might be required if multiple sources are used. I will have a hunt around and try to add some, but my library is very limited around this period. Is anyone else able to help? Regards, AustralianRupert (talk) 06:14, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

I've added as much as I can now. Regards, AustralianRupert (talk) 23:22, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

Further suggestions[edit]

As per above, I'm trying to rework this page, but I don't have all the sources required. If anyone wants to help, that would be great. Some thoughts I have for improvements are as follows:

  • add some more images to break up the text;
  • add citations for all paragraphs;
  • check that all the red links are to valid topics, if not cut them out, or pipe them if possible;
  • remove overlinked terms;
  • copy edit the article for grammar, spelling and punctuation;
  • consider removing the lists of regiments that served in the colonies, and hive them off into a stand alone list article, possibly named: List of British Army units that served in Australia before Federation or something similar. In order for this to occur, references would need to be found for these regiments' service in the colonies. Peter Stanley's The Remote Garrison: The British Army in Australia 1788-1870 might offer help here, but I haven't got access to it, so I don't know for sure. Has anyone got any thoughts on this? Regards, AustralianRupert (talk) 08:04, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
    • Actually, I've now found a source that lists all 26 British infantry regiments that served in Australia between 1810 and 1870: George Odgers. (1988) Army Australia, p. 17. AustralianRupert (talk) 08:27, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
      • I've created the list now at: "List of British Army regiments that served in Australia between 1810 and 1870". I propose to trim the lists out of this article over the next few days if nobody objects. Regards, AustralianRupert (talk) 12:14, 15 January 2012 (UTC)
        • I've implemented these suggestions now. Regards, AustralianRupert (talk) 23:22, 24 February 2012 (UTC)

some clarification required[edit]

Several statements in this article refer to "volunteers". For example "However they were still volunteers not regulars. ".

This requires clarification. Were "regulars" forcibly conscripted, and therefore not volunteers. I suspect that two quite different concepts are being conflated here: whether the members of the force joined voluntarily, or under compulsion or conscription, and whether their engagement was part-time or contingent, as opposed to full-time and professional.Eregli bob (talk) 00:42, 21 January 2012 (UTC)

I might be mistaken, but I think that the term 'volunteer' was used in this period to describe the part-time militia units which made up the bulk of the colonial forces. The 'regulars' were full-time personnel. Nick-D (talk) 00:45, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
I think you are probably right, but the problem is that in recent times, professional armies o,f countries such as the USA, Britain and Australia are described as volunteers, as distinct from the 1950's and 1960's when there was compulsory military service for some or all men. If you are going to use the word "volunteer" in some archaic mid-nineteenth century sense, then it is probably better to be clear what is meant. To a person with limited historical knowledge, the statement "they were volunteers not regulars" makes almost no sense. The members of the full-time regular army, are all volunteers. Nobody is forcing them to join up. Eregli bob (talk) 02:17, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
G'day, I'm slowly working through the article trying to find citations and remove inconsistencies/clarify information. I'm by no means an expert in this area and I'm not the original author of most of the content, so I don't know what they intended, but my understanding is that what Nick says here is correct. "Volunteer" was used to describe unpaid, or partially paid, soldiers as opposed to those that were employed (paid) as full time soldiers. Regards, AustralianRupert (talk) 01:12, 21 January 2012 (UTC)
I've only just come across this discussion. "Volunteer" is one of those words that has changed its meanings over time and place, and even today can be ambiguous. Today a volunteer soldier usually means one who joined the forces as an act of free will, as opposed to a conscript. However, in the nineteenth century it implied an unpaid member of a citizen militia, usually part-time and with only basic training, as opposed to a regular, who was paid a salary, worked full-time and was thoroughly trained. Peter Bell (talk) 07:24, 16 March 2012 (UTC)

TOC limit[edit]

A TOC limit of 2 makes the article impossible to usefully navigate. It means that 75% of the page's content is lumbed under one of the TOC headings, even though that heading implies that it is the section about the various colonial forces of the article's title: the things a reader is looking for. It makes no sense to force the reader to scroll through the article to find out about the forces of the colony of his choice when it has a section heading of its own. Srnec (talk) 02:19, 25 April 2012 (UTC)

G'day, that is possibly a fair point, however, as your change was reverted by another editor, I really don't feel you should have changed it back until it was discussed here. Personally, as the main contributor who added the TOC, I can assure you I added it for a reason. Nevertheless, I'm not wedded to the TOC limit, although I feel it does serve a purpose here to reduce the large amount of whitespace that appears. That is just my take, though, and I'm more than willing to defer to consensus if others disagree, however, there is a process that should be followed when editors disagree (WP:BRD). Please wait for others to give their opinions before changing it back. Regards, AustralianRupert (talk) 02:50, 25 April 2012 (UTC)
IMO the TOC limit as it currently stands makes it more managable, not less. The previous TOC resulted in a large amount of whitespace, whilst I don't think the article is so long that users are unable to navigate without 3rd level headings. Anotherclown (talk) 11:04, 25 April 2012 (UTC)
While I agree that the extra white space from expanding the TOC isn't good, I think that it's more than offset by the benefits of allowing readers to easily jump to the sections on each colony. This is a very comprehensive article (118k of prose and references), and I think that a more detailed TOC would help readers to understand what it contains and navigate to the sections which interest them; the current level of detail in the TOC is much less than that of most comparable articles. Nick-D (talk) 11:58, 25 April 2012 (UTC)
What Nick says. Currently the TOC is not much use. The whitespace could be removed by putting the TOC to one side. Srnec (talk) 22:31, 26 April 2012 (UTC)
Whilst I disagree, I can see the logic in the argument and can accept it if thats what others think is best. Anotherclown (talk) 11:41, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
Ok, I've removed the TOC limit. I wasn't able to move the TOC in a way that actually reduced the whitespace, but I can live with it. I've also adjusted the section headers so they appear as second level headers. I think it makes more sense like that: please let me know what you think. Thank you all for your input. Regards, AustralianRupert (talk) 21:53, 27 April 2012 (UTC)
I have moved the TOC to the right, which reduces the whitespace. We could otherwise set it to default "hide". I do not like the section heading "Colonial armies: overview"; I would just prefer to have the colonies listed as third-level headings. Finally, I think perhaps the Colonial navies link should either be moved to the top of this article as a hatnote (since navies are also forces, no?) or else maybe this article should be moved to Colonial armies of Australia or Colonial militias of Australia? Or, perhaps a small section on the navies with a main article hatnote? Srnec (talk) 05:31, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
Regarding the TOC, I'm not exactly sure that is a good solution. It looks pretty bad on my machine as it now sandwiches the image below it, nevertheless I'm not going to argue if you think that the best solution. Regarding the title of the overview section, I'm open to suggestions about what it should be called, but frankly I'm not sure that there are many alternatives as it is exactly what it is labelled: an overview. It is supposed to tie the common threads in the information about the individual colonies together. In regards to the name of the article you have a fair point, in my opinion. I think the best solution would just be to rename this article, rather than add another section to it on the navies. My suggestion is "Colonial land forces of Australia". I would be keen to hear what others say before we go moving the article, though. Regards, AustralianRupert (talk) 06:44, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
I share ARs concerns about the image sandwiching in regards moving the TOC to the right as has now occurred. Personally I think it is better back where it was, although I can accept removing the TOC limit or even the use of 2nd level headings for all of the Colonial forces as has now occurred (if one accepts the original argument that it was difficult to navigate). Re the article rename: Colonial land forces of Australia seems a reasonable suggestion to me. Anotherclown (talk) 12:13, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
It looks fine on my machine, so I do not know how to fix it. On my machine the TOC is beneath the lead image.
If we label a section an "overview", I expect it either to come first or to have subsections. As it is, it is not clear why there is an overview section after two large sections and separate from several detailed sections that follow. As to the title, I would prefer "armies" to "land forces", but I don't really care if it gets moved at all. As long as the title is ambiguous, I think it should be easier to find information on the navies (rather than through a "See also" section), that's all. Whether it is done through a hatnote or a summary section with a link I don't care either way. Srnec (talk) 19:47, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── My previous comment must have been a little imprecise. It is not the lead image it interfers with, rather the map in the background which is pushed down by the TOC. A hatnote to the Colonial navies article seems a workable solution to me. Anotherclown (talk) 22:50, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

Also I think the only solution to the issue with the overview may be a return to the use of 3rd level headings for each of the colonies. Thoughts? Anotherclown (talk) 23:08, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
Fair enough, I've changed it back now. Does that work for everyone? Regards, AustralianRupert (talk) 00:00, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
That seems workable to me. Anotherclown (talk) 00:18, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
It looks good to me. Another solution to the whitespace is to put the TOC at the left at the top, beneath the hatnote, but that will squeeze the text between the TOC (which is narrow) and the image. I tried it on my screen and it does not look too bad, but I leave it up to you to implement if you like, since I believe the expanded TOC is more important than the minimised whitespace. Srnec (talk) 05:16, 29 April 2012 (UTC)

West Australian Volunteers vs Western Australian Volunteers[edit]

Following recent changes by John beta this article currently refers to the "Western Australian Volunteers" as existing in 1884 and includes a reference to a contemporary newspaper article from 1863. This appears to be incorrect to me. The article is referring to the force as it existed in 1884, not 1863. Kuring page 28 specially uses the term "1st Battalion, West Australian Volunteers" in relation to the organisation of the colony's forces in 1884. While it is true that the "Western Australian Volunteer Force" existed in the early 1860s (and is correctly mentioned earlier in the article), I believe that this is what the 1863 article is refering to, not the later unit from the 1880s. As such I believe "West Australian Volunteers" is more accurate in this instance. Thoughts? Anotherclown (talk) 12:05, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

G'day, that seems like sound reasoning. I propose that it be changed back to the way it was originally written per the source provided unless a source from 1884 can be found. I would like to hear what John's opinion is first, though, of course. Regards, AustralianRupert (talk) 13:19, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

Lt-Colonel Edward Fox Angelo of the Royal Scots Regiment arrived from Tasmania to take over the WA forces on 30 May 1882 as Inspecting Field Officer. Three newspaper articles I've seen, from 1883, 1885 and 1886, refer to the “Western Australian” Volunteers[1][2][3] "West Australian", then and now, altho' common, is informal usage. The Government Gazettes of the day didn't use it. The militia units existing in 1860s can be traced continuously through to the 1880s - apart from the arrival of Colonel Angelo not a lot changed. As to Kuring, there are problems with his description of the Western Australian militia structure for that period - it doesn't agree with descriptions in the contemporary journals - confusing. John beta (talk) 15:29, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

  1. ^ "News of the Week". The Western Mail. 22 May 1886. p. 15. Retrieved 2012-04-28. 
  2. ^ "The Easter Encampment". The West Australian. 11 April 1885. p. 3. Retrieved 2012-04-28. 
  3. ^ "News in Brief". The Inquirer and Commercial News. 7 Feb 1883. p. 5. Retrieved 2012-04-28. 
Thanks for this John. Yes it is confusing - interestingly the article "The Easter Encampment" (1885) cited above actually seems to use both "Western Australian Volunteers" and "West Australian Volunteers" - see: "described the welcome that he, as the senior West Australian Volunteer". Given this I wonder if we could include some sort of footnote outlining the issue with this terminology? Also I propose that we use one of the 1880 articles as a reference, rather than the 1863 article. Currently the 1863 article is being used as a reference for the situation in 1884 which seems incorrect to me. Anotherclown (talk) 22:41, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
One further point - Nichols (1988), The Colonial Volunteer, p. 70 uses the term "West Australian Mounted Volunteers" - is this a completly different unit? It is used in the context of that unit being redesignated as Horse Artillery in Jan 1873 after being issued two 12 pdrs. Anotherclown (talk) 22:44, 28 April 2012 (UTC)
G'day, I've added a note about the discrepancy and added a couple of the refs provided above. Does this work for everyone? Sorry, I can't check on the point regarding Nicols as I no longer have the work in my possession. AustralianRupert (talk) 00:29, 29 April 2012 (UTC)
Happy with that. Anotherclown (talk) 00:31, 29 April 2012 (UTC)