NSW Artillery Officer's crossbelt pouch, c. 1860

Historical note: 

Dating to the period immdiately following the Crimean War (1853-56), this crossbelt pouch is a particularly fine example of its type. Pouches like this one would have been worn by officers inspecting or commanding the guns in the colony of New South Wales at battery locations like Fort Denison and Dawes Point, or on parades of mobile guns in the Domain or Hyde Park.

The NSW Artillery was a relatively small group of units within the colonial defence forces;its officer corps is likely to have numbered only a few dozen.

This pouch consists of a black leather body mounted with 'white metal' strap slings. Its design features three cannons on field carriages, one above the other, all cast from white metal. The field guns are surrounded by a rich wreath of leaves embroidered in silver bullion. The pouch flap is trimmed with silver lace.

The rich decoration indicates that the officer's pattern crossbelt pouch was a ceremonial symbol of rank rather than having the practical application of its notional use, that is, to hold cartridges for an officer's pistol.

Worn at a time when gold was our most important export and Britain was at war with the indigenous peoples of New Zealand (1845-72), objects such as this remind us of the measures taken by the colony in a bid to defend itself as a far-off outpost of the Empire. 

Materials: 
leather, white metal, silver bullion, silver lace
Category: 
Uniforms
Conflict: 
Colonial Wars (1856-1901)
Location: 
New South Wales
Production Date: 
c. 1860

On this day

On this day
30 January

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1951 — Women’s Royal Australian Air Force formed

1968 — The TET OFFENSIVE began in Vietnam. A series of co-ordinated attacks by communist forces were defeated but the Offensive proved to be a propaganda  victory for the communists, accelerating the American public’s growing opposition to the war. Australian troops of 2nd, 3rd, and 7th Battalions, Royal Australian Regiment were involved in the Offensive