The Royal New South Wales Lancers

Museum Report Jan 2001

The Museum Report
January 2001

Published by the New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated
ABN 94 630 140 881
Lancer Barracks, 2 Smith Street, PARRAMATTA NSW 2150, AUSTRALIA

The Museum Annexe  Vehicle Displays  Commanding Officers' Staircase  Vehicle Restoration  The Regiment  Ex Centenary Lancer  The Centenary of Federation  The Olympics  Museum Internet Site  Thank You  The Volunteers  Memorabilia  Format Change

The Museum Report is published January and July of each year to appraise past serving members of the 1st/15th Royal New South Wales Lancers and pre-cursor organisations, friends and associates about the activities of the Museum dedicated to the history of the Regiment, the Australian Cavalry and Armoured Corps.

The Museum needs money to carry on the valuable work. Contributing $20.00 per year this ensures you will continue to receive this newsletter. All donations are tax deductible (status of museum recently reviewed post GST), a receipt will be provided with your next newsletter.

We also need workers and guides. Working bees are conducted every second Sunday of the month commencing at 10:00 at Lancer Barracks; if you are interested, please turn up, or drop a note or e-mail .

 The Museum Annexe go to top of page

The White Ant infested Museum Annexe   The Annexe under repair

It was in 1997 that the Museum Annexe was found to be infested with white ants. The valuable artefacts were removed and placed initially in commercial storage; then as costs mounted, David Crisp offered us the use of his recently completed work room. We thank David and Denise for their generosity. It was also necessary to close one of the exhibition rooms and store the overflow.

The Museum Committee of Management initially attempted to expand the annexe during reconstruction. This would have enabled a larger storage and work area with a proper Museum Shop. It was found, however, that the bureaucracy involved in gaining approval for anything to be built in the historic Lancer Barracks precinct was prohibitive. In early 2000, it was finally decided to simply re-build the current structure, we then had to wait for the Sydney Olympic building boom to fade to a point where a builder could be found who would do the job for a reasonable price.

The rebuilt annexe will be completed in January; and the exhibition room will re-open in February 2001.

 Vehicle Displays go to top of page

Our vehicles have been involved in three community displays since July, at Liverpool, Parramatta and Penrith. The museum also put on a display at the Regimental open day in August at Holsworthy. The Regimental open day was the only one involving a display of the Centurion.

Ferret in Penrith Festival Parade  Ferret with television soap opera celebrities at Liverpool

 Commanding Officers’ Staircase go to top of page

The Commanding Officers Staircase expanded to cover all COs to the present day.

The central area of the Museum’s 1828 “Georgian” building is dedicated to the commanding officers of the 1st/15th Royal New South Wales Lancers. This exhibition had been originally developed by Barry Hodgson, who organised photographs and chronicled the careers of COs from Malcolm Macdonald in 1885 till Warren Glenny in 1974. Since then there have been a further nine commanders. In the past six months the committee brought the project up to date. Former COs were asked to provide a suitable photo, and if they could not, the Museum records, and various personal albums were scoured to find suitable images. John McPhee, Bob Iverach, Lee Long, Geoff Bell and Phillip Bridie all provided high quality portraits. We were able to find excellent likenesses for Greg McIntyre, Frank Holles and Scott Terry, however, the only image we could find of Greg Smith was one taken in the field with a poor quality camera. If anyone has a better portrait of Greg, please let us have it; the original will be returned.

 Vehicle Restoration go to top of page

The Staghound armoured car is approaching completion, and work is proceeding on the Museum’s second Matilda. This work along with the continual maintenance of the Museums fleet of operational vehicles takes a lot of time and effort. Anyone with the time and experience, or just a desire to learn is welcome to join in.

 The Regiment go to top of page

Live Firing

This year the Regiment published a journal commemorating the efforts of the unit over the past three years. The Museum has some 50 copies of this publication for sale should any museum member or associate wish to have one to stay up with Regimental happenings. At a cost of $7.00, they can be ordered using the attached form or from the Museum Website. First come first serve. The Article “Exercise Centenary Lancer” below, chronicling the visit by unit members to South Africa to commemorate the centenary of the Regiment first going into battle has been reproduced from the journal (with permission).

LTCOL BridieLTCOL HigginsThe Regiment also changed commanding officers on 12 December; Lieutenant Colonel Phillip Bridie concluding a successful command and handing over to the previous Second in Command Lieutenant Colonel Wayne Higgins RFD. Both Phillip and Wayne have been good friends to the Museum. We wish Phillip good fortune in his future career, and look forward to working with Wayne during his time in command. Colonel Higgins has been in the Armoured Corps for over 20 years, and saw service with 12th/16th Hunter River Lancers as a junior officer and Squadron Commander before joining 1st/15th as 2IC.

 Exercise Centenary Lancer 15-30 Nov 1999 go to top of page

By WO2 Baxter

Exercise Centenary Lancer was made possible by the generous donations from the Castle Hill RSL and the Regimental Trust Fund. The truth is Castle Hill RSL gives large donations to RTF every year for minimal support and is one of the few clubs that still actively support their local Army units. This is mainly to the great work and normally unappreciated efforts of W02 Peter Sly and Mr David Wood.

The exercise was an outstanding success due to the assistance from the South African Army and the unbaited hospitality of the South African people.

The people of South Africa were the nicest, friendliest people you could ever meet. The delegation would like to express their gratitude to Colonel Andre Retief the Commanding Officer of the South African School of Armour and W01 Andre Slabber RSM 12th South African Infantry for their generous hospitality.

The aim of the exercise was to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Regiments involvement in the Boer War, by providing suitable representation at Memorial Services in South Africa. The infamous Trooper Russel Gilbet achieved the aim of this exercise. After Russ' endeavours as an ambassador it will be hundreds of years before South Africa recovers.

The exercise was conducted over 15 very interesting and unusual days. It all started after a refreshing twelve hour plane flight arriving in Singapore. Russ commented that he was surprised to see so many Asians living in Africa and even more surprised to learn Singapore was not in Africa.

Our first stop was the classy “Ritz Hotel” in fact at $100 Australian for two rounds of drinks we all agreed it was out of our class. One benefit was the free peanuts. After eating 44kgs of the worlds smallest peanut, we had to concede at 5 cents a kg we would have to spend the next 15 days eating peanuts to get our $100 back.

Next we lowered Mr Joswiak’s standards and went to the NCO Club. At a dollar a beer we decided it was more in our class and the drunken 80 year old Asian Cowboy from Scotland who held up the bar there confirmed the class of the establishment.

After a short tour of Singapore and ensuring we had all contracted some lethal strain of the Asian influenza we boarded our flight to South Africa.

Africa at last, our first task was to load two three and a half metre long lances, 240 kg of baggage and 286 kg of human flesh into a very small four cylinder sedan. Russ commented that these South African cars were slack on the acceleration. We couldn't figure out why.

Out on the open highway we headed to the heart of Johannesburg, then to the west of Johannesburg, then to the east of Johannesburg and then finally to the south of Johannesburg where we should have been in the first place. Our first night was spent in the Jungle Safari Lodge that had a five star rating, at the time of the Boer War.

That night we went on our very first Safari. Our guide “Bushy” took us to the wildest part of Africa, Johannesburg at night. With a murder and mugging a minute, it makes lions look tame. After a very entertaining night we the headed north 1000 km to Kruger National Park the next couple of days we drove around the park spotting animals of various kinds. LT Jozwaik showed off his recon prowess by spotting a herd of elephants at 5 metres during broad daylight.

Next we headed south east 1500 km to Dundee taking one of W02 Baxter's famous short cuts, via Swaziland. Most people cross international boarders by using main roads. Bill's short cuts are not always the most direct route but they do save time with customs, visas, passports and red tape. Swaziland is one of the prettiest countries in the world and the best place to buy life size wooden elephants.

Next, we visited the battlefields of Talana, Rorke's Drift, Insandalwana and stayed at the majestic Hotel Dundee for a couple of days.

Our first official duty was at Bloemfontein as guests of the South African School of Armour where we received a brief from the Colonel, we gave a brief to his Staff, toured the training establishment visited the 1st Special Services Battalion (Armoured). During a stay we trained on their tank and guided missile simulators, drove the South African Heavy Armoured car the Rooikat and took part in a Centurion Troop battle run as observers. In that short time we all squeezed in four Mess functions including a dining-out night. On the completion of our visit we presented Colonel with a pair of Lances for the Museum.

Our next stop was Belmont on 23 Nov 1999 which was the day of the hundredth anniversary of the Battle of Belmont our Regiment’s first major Battle. We then retraced the steps of the Regiment's advance to relive Kimberley.

This was followed by a stay at 12th South African Infantry (12 SAI) Potchefstroom where we again attended more Mess functions conducted by our superb host RSM Andre Slabber. As 12th South African Infantry uses horses and dogs; during our stay we were given the grand tour of the kennels and stables. We watched an excellent demonstration in horsemanship, then demonstrated our own riding ability.

After a couple of days power shopping and sight seeing in Pretoria and Johannesburg we boarded the plane for our flight home

Exercise Centenary Lancer proved to be an interesting, educational and exciting activity for all members involved. It has forged several inter-unit relationships that should be expanded on in the future.

“Exercise Centenary Lancer” was first published in “The Lancers” Journal 2000. It is reproduced here with permission.

 The Centenary of Federation go to top of page

The Regimental History notes:

“From about 27 December 1900, the Lancers, as part of the Mounted Brigade, were encamped at what was then the Moore Park Rifle Range, Paddington, in connection with the inauguration of the Commonwealth and the attendant celebrations. On 1 January 1901 there was a monster military procession from the Domain to Centennial Park where the first Governor-General, Lord Hopetoun, was to be sworn in. Interest and colour galore were added by the presence in the procession of representative detachments of 27 British and 24 Indian units and corps, each in their own particular full dress uniform. The Governor-General himself was escorted by a squadron of the NSW Lancers, half from Sydney, half from Parramatta, under Major W. L. Vernon, Captains J. Spencer-Brunton and F. H. King, and Lieutenant R. C. Mackenzie.

 The Regiment in the Federation Parade.

The overseas detachments included 155 British and Indian cavalrymen. As the Aldershot squadron had drawn 110 horses from the British cavalry for their training while in England, Colonel Burns (the Regimental Commanding Officer) saw an opportunity tor a return gesture and, on behalf of the regiment, offered to horse the visitors during the month they would be in Sydney. He was promptly backed by Captain Charley of Richmond who undertook to find 20 horses, Mr Tulloch of Scone, 10, and Major Taylor of Lismore, 12. For the remainder he looked to each half-squadron to bring extra mounts when they came to camp—mounts of not less than 15 hands; "if we get many light horses they will have to be given to the Indian cavalry who usually ride very light animals". Hopes of a profitable sale after the camp was over were apparently not realised; in a letter to the assistant adjutant-general Colonel Burns mentioned that "the regiment horsed nearly 200 of the visiting mounted troops at considerable expense", and elsewhere he referred to the "considerable loss".

In May 1901 the Duke of Cornwall and York (later King George V) visited Melbourne to open the first Parliament of the Commonwealth. New South Wales and the other States sent military contingents to represent them in Melbourne, Major W. L. Vernon being in command of the NSW Mounted Brigade's detachment of 215 all ranks, which included the Lancer band. Later, His Royal Highness toured New South Wales; in Sydney the Lancers provided escorts for him on several occasions as did the Australian Horse on others; also the Newcastle Half-Squadron of Lancers had a similar privilege when he visited their city.”

The Melbourne Contingent.

On 1 January 2001, the Regiment provided a contingent ( including the Regimental Band) in the parade through the streets of Sydney to Centennial Park marking 100 years since Federation.

 The Olympics go to top of page

Museum members made a considerable contribution to the success of the Sydney Olympics. Len Koles was approached to run the security communications centre, and in turn invited his old Armoured Corps colleagues to join him. The volunteers soon found their voice procedure flowing back, spent some time training and rehearsing, then two weeks in a communications bunker. Those who participated were: Tony Fryer, Bruce Kilgour, Len Koles, Bill Manyweathers, Mike Moran, Bill Prosser and Joe Tabone; well done gentlemen!

 Museum Internet Site go to top of page

In the past six months a substantial amount of work has been done to expand the Museum’s internet site There is now a description of all of the battles available with the exception of World War II campaign and theatre honours; these will be completed within the next month (there is also a need for continuous improvement on the 15th honours). A history of the Band has been included (courtesy the Light Horse Association magazine) to complement downloads of the regimental slow and quick marches. /p>

Visits to the site peaked during the Olympics then tapered off in October. They are now building again, mainly with US based visitors. There has also been a take-up of the on-line memorabilia ordering facility.

 Thank You go to top of page

The Museum has needed your financial help this year more than ever. Repairs to the Annexe, and repairs that will be necessary to the roof next year are beyond the skill set, and more importantly the time availability of Museum members. Our capital has been substantially drained.

Those who contributed financially to the museum this year were (excluding almost all military ranks, titles and decorations): John B Arnott; Harry Bailey; Bill Balchin; Ted Ballard; John Bartlett; Geoff Bell; Norman Bent; Ray Birks; M Jack Booth; Phillip Bridie; John Burlison; Hilary Burton; Merv Canham; Jim Caradus; Harry Carr; Bert Castellari; Lachlan Charlton; Les Chipperfield; Helen Clarke; Bill Cross; Ron Cullen; Jeff Darke; Christopher Dawson; David W Donald; Ruth A Donald; John C Drews; Ian Frost; Robin Gay; Major General Warren Glenny; Fred Grover; Allan Harland; D W Harris; Terry Hennessy; Kevin Hobbs; John Howells; Les Hughes; Bob Iverach; John F Lamb; Sidney George Lewis; Keith C Linnert; G R F Lovegrove; Jean Macdonald; Paul Maile; Ted Martin; A A (Tony) McArthur; Mick McConnell; George B McLean; Roger McMahon; David Meidling; Samuel A Mifsud; Henry Mikel; K J Mountain; Valerie O'Sullivan; John G Paton; Lillian Patterson; John David Plowman; David Power; Richard Pym; John Rodwell; Laurel M Sharpe; Robert Simpson; Arthur Standring; Bob Stenhouse; Ronald Raymond Stone; Sir Laurence Street; Reg Swadling; Daniel Tesoriero; Graham B Ware; John Sydney Warner; Phil Wright. Thank You All.

 The Volunteers go to top of page

While making mention of those who donate cash, is also important to mention those who regularly donate their time to the Museum, sometimes every weekend to act as Guides, work on the collection, and maintain our vehicles, some worthy of note are: Terry Boardman; David Brown; Ross Brown; Glenn Cairncross; Brian Collings; Damien Crisp; David Crisp; Jeff Darke; Chris Dawson; Tony Fryer; John Howells; Bruce Kilgour; Len Koles; Mick Lewins; Paul Maile; Bill Manyweathers; Bill Matthews; Mike Moran; Gordon Muddle; Ron Muddle; Peter O’Reilly; Bill Prosser; Joe Tabone; Brian Walters. And others (I am certain you will let me know who I missed out).

 Memorabilia go to top of page

Should you require some museum memorabilia including a chance to get one of the 50 copies of “The Lancers” Journal 2000, please visit the on-line museum shop.

 Format Change go to top of page

You will note that the format and content of the Museum Report will change slightly next edition (July 2001), incorporating the Royal New South Wales Lancers Association Journal. It will continue to appraise you of Museum and current Regimental activities.


Text by John Howells (unless otherwise referenced).
Photographs by John Howells, Bruce Kilgour and others.
The Museum Report is published in January and July each year. Contributions are greatly appreciated, by post or e-mail to the editor:
John Howells, NSW Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated, Lancer Barracks, 2 Smith Street, PARRAMATTA NSW 2150, AUSTRALIA. .
© New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated January 2001

© New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated ABN 94 630 140 881; Linden House, Lancer Barracks, 2 Smith Street, PARRAMATTA, AUSTRALIA
Postal Address: PO Box 7287, PENRITH SOUTH NSW 2750, AUSTRALIA; Telephone: +61 (0)405 482 814 Email:
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