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Martini-Henry Mk. III rifle

Date: 1885
Dimensions:
Overall: 110 x 35 x 1260 mm, 4 kg
Medium: Metal, wood
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Armament
Object Name: Rifle
Object No: 00033856
Place Manufactured:London

User Terms

    Description
    Markings on this Martini Henry Rifle indicate that it was produced by the Birmingham Small Arms Company in 1885, and used by the NSW Naval Brigade, one of Australia's colonial navies. The Brigade was formed in 1863. Some of its members travelled to China in 1900 in response to the Boxer Uprising.
    SignificanceThis Martini Henry rifle is representative of Australia's colonial defence weaponry.
    HistoryFirst issued in 1879, the Mk III rifle is the most commonly encountered colonial issue Martini Henry, and was used in all the Australian colonies. Markings on the rifle indicate that it was produced by the Birmingham Small Arms Company in 1885, and used by the NSW Naval Brigade.

    The NSW Naval Brigade was formed in 1863 of volunteers, many of them time-expired Royal Navy men, led by one paid commanding officer. By 1864, five companies of naval volunteers (four in Sydney and one in Newcastle) had been formed. The Brigade numbered over 300 men by the mid-1870s. They had few vessels: three gunboats were built in Sydney in 1863, four schooners were built in 1873, and two torpedo vessels were purchased in 1878. One commentator disparagingly remarked in 1882 that 'they rarely, if ever, drill in daylight, and have never exercised afloat. The force, at present, is of no value for service afloat, and is not really a Naval Brigade'.

    The Brigade was sent to China in 1900 in response to the Boxer uprising. Historian Bob Nicholls records a NSW Naval Brigade Officer interviewed before they left as saying 'We can't equip a single man. We have not even a water bottle, nor have we any haversacks for the men. As regards our arms, the machine guns are obsolete; we have only the old pattern Martini-Henry rifles, and in fact no field kit of any description could be taken to the front.'
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Martini-Henry Rifle mark III .450/.577

    Web title: Martini-Henry Mk. III rifle

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