Shoulder title : NSW Irish Rifle Regiment

Place Oceania: Australia, New South Wales
Accession Number REL30351
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Badge
Physical description Brass
Maker Unknown
Place made Australia
Date made c 1903-1912
Conflict Army organisation period 1903-1912

Brass shoulder title of the NSW Irish Rifle Regiment, c 1903-1912. The badge, which is in the shape of a voided three leafed shamrock, contains two horizontal bands with the raised words 'NSW' and 'IRISH RIFLES'.

History / Summary

The New South Wales Irish Rifles were originally raised as a part of the unpaid military volunteer movement which swept NSW in 1895. A meeting of the Sydney Irish community held in November of that year resulted in the formation of a separate Irish corps. This Irish Volunteer Rifle Corps, part of the 5th (Union Volunteer) NSW Infantry Regiment, used a badge which featured the imperial crown, the waratah, the shamrock and the motto 'Ready'. In July 1899, with the addition of some volunteer companies from the Illawarra Rifles, the Irish corps was enlarged to form the '8th NSW Volunteer Infantry Regiment (Irish Rifles)'. This unit designed a new badge, which featured the shamrock below the numeral '8', encircled by a Waratah wreath, and surmounted by the imperial crown. A new motto, the Irish slogan 'Fag an Bealac' ('Clear the way') was added. In 1903, as part of the reorganization of the Australian Army after Federation, the unit received the title 'NSW Irish Rifle Regiment', and its badge was again modified by the removal of the superceded numeral '8' and the inclusion of the Irish harp above the shamrock. The regiment's new title was also added in a ribbon at the bottom of the badge. The NSW Irish Rifles, which remained throughout an entirely unpaid volunteer force, ceased to exist when the Australian Army was again reorganised in 1912. Under the new system introduced, the unit became the 33rd Infantry Regiment, but did not inherit any traditions or heraldry from its predecessor.