Full dress tunic : Lieutenant J B N Osborne, 1st Australian Horse

Place Oceania: Australia, New South Wales
Accession Number REL/04694.001
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Uniform
Physical description Bullion thread, Cotton twill, Ferrous metal, Russia braid, Wool, Wool twill
Maker Hobson and Sons
Place made United Kingdom: England, Greater London, London
Date made c 1898 - 1901
Conflict South Africa, 1899-1902 (Boer War)
Australian Colonial Forces, 1854-1900

Myrtle green wool twill tunic with stand collar of the same fabric, edged with black wool lace, black Russia braid and bearing reproduction gilt collar badges. Shoulder straps of plaited black wool gimp braid with embroidered bullion rank badges for a lieutenant. The front of the tunic is frogged with six tapered rows of black gimp braid with netted caps and drops, fastened in the centre with net olivettes and coated metal hooks and eyes. The sleeves are decorated with Austrian knots in black wool gimp braid edged with black wool Russia braid. The wearer's left sleeve is also trimmed with an 8.5cm black wool mourning armband to mark the death of Queen Victoria in January 1901. Back panels and skirt are decorated with double rows of gimp braid, edged with Russia braid that begin at the back armholes with crowsfeet, netted caps at waist seam and ending in Austrian knots at skirt hem. Centre back skirt vent with vertical pleat each side of the vent beginning at the back net caps. The centre fronts, rounded hem and lower edge of collar are trimmed with black gimp braid. Tunic is fully lined with a dark bottle green wool faced fabric, quilted at the front and with concealed pocket lined with brown cotton drill at the left breast. The sleeves are lined with glossy striped white cotton twill. At the inside back collar, a handstitched maker's label reads 'HOBSON & SONS LEXINGTON ST., LONDON W1'. Below this in ink handwriting is ' Lt. J.B.N Osborne 4165?'. Note that although the lace and braid appear to be, and are described as, black, in accordance with the 1st Australian Horse dress regulations, microscopic examination reveals that they are in fact a dark bottle green.

History / Summary

Full dress tunic worn by Lieutenant James Bunbury Nott Osborne as a member of the 1st Australian Horse. Born in New South Wales on 14 May 1878, and educated at Rugby College in England, Osborne was commissioned into the 1st Australian Horse on 1 January 1898, when he joined a contingent of the unit raised at Bungendore by his father, Pat Hill Osborne. The unit's first Easter camp was held at Currandooley, the nearby Osborne property, where Pat Osborne provided free rations, transport and forage. He also entertained the officers, including his son James, to dinner. During the Boer War, the Australian Horse provided two contingents, in 1899 and 1900. Osborne served as second in command with the first contingent, arriving in Cape Town on 13 December 1899. He was present at the Relief of Kimberley and while there, left the Australian Horse and took up a commission with the British 16th Lancers. He was closely involved in the surrender of Bloemfontein. Osborne took part in operations in Orange Free State and Transvaal between January 1900 and November 1900 and saw action at Reit River, Klip Drift, Relief of Kimberley, Paardeberg, Poplar Grove, Dreifontein, Karee Siding, Belfast and Slingersfontein. He was awarded the Queen's South Africa Medal with five clasps. After taking ill, he was invalided to England. Osborne eventually returned to Australia and took up the family property 'Bowylie', at Gundaroo, NSW. He died in 1934.