First Published 2014
© Len Kenna & Crystal Jordan

THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA The Commonwealth of Australia was Federated on the Tuesday 1 January 1901 by representatives from all of the countries of the British Empire. One of the largest contingents came from India.  Lieutenant Colonel Lumley Scobell Peyton was the Officer in Command of the Indian Contingent that consisted of 34 Native Officers and 66 Non-Commissioned Officers, each attended by a Servant, camped at the Agricultural Grounds, Moore Park, Sydney. About 70 Followers (attendants) accompanied the Contingent. The Indian Contingent also travelled to Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Hobart and New Zealand. They did not visit Adelaide due to a reported case of plaque. The Indian Contingent gave demonstrations of their horse riding skills including tent-pegging and acrobatics. They excited the Australian crowds with the colour and glitter of their uniforms, medals and turbans, as well as their horsemanship. 


RIMS DALHOUSIE AIHSThe R.I.M.S. Dalhousie left Bombay, India, on the 23 November 1900.  The Indian Contingent arrived in Sydney, Australia on 22 December 1900 and returned to Bombay from Sydney with the Indian Contingent on the 4th April 1901.


CAVALRY OFFICERS IN SYDNEY Front Row: 3rd from left: Indian Cavalry Officer Colonel Dahdbda (sic. Dadubha) (Jamnagar I. S. Troops, Col. Cdt. Nawanagar State Forces 1892-1903, attached 5th Royal Irish Lancers 1896-1903), In 1907 Col. Dadubha became H. H. Maharana Shri Sir Daulatsinhji Jasvatsinhji Sahib Bahadur, Thakore Sahib of Limbdi, KCSI (1.1.1921), KCIE (1.1.1931), Centre:Rissaldar Major Miseri Khan (8th Bengal Lancers) who was reported to be the best rider in Indian and the world?  5th from left: Major Kesha Ras (Gwailors)?  Centre Row: 3rd from left: Risaldar Ram Singh (9th Bengal Lancers) Courtesy Queenslander January 1901. (Photo: Tosca)

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From Left: 1. Indian Cavalry Officer Colonel Dahbda (sic. Dadubha) (Jamnagar I. S. Cavalry, Col. Cdt. Nawanagar State Forces 1892-1903, attached 5th Royal Irish Lancers 1896-1903). He was a cousin by marriage of Prince RanjitsinhjiIn. In 1907 Col. Dadubha was designated as his Heir Apparent by H.H. Maharana Shri Sir Jaswantsinhji Fatehsinhji Sahib, shortly before his death. Recognised as successor by the Government of India, with effect from 15th April 1907. He was Installed on the gadi, at the City Palace, Limbdi, 14th April 1908 and formally adopted in public Durbar by the widow of his predecessor, H.H. Rani Shri Bama Bairajba Kunverba Sahiba, 6th May 1908. His title was H. H. Maharana Shri Sir Daulatsinhji Jasvatsinhji Sahib Bahadur, Thakore Sahib of Limbdi, KCSI (1.1.1921), KCIE (1.1.1931). 2. Rissaldar Memtaz Ali Khan (2nd C. I. Horse), 3. A Native Doctor with the Contingent, 4. Rissaldar Ram Singh (9th Bengal Lancers son Chet Singh. Ram died 12 June 1917). 5. Subadar Major Jangia Thapa (5th Gurkha Regiment) who was one of of Major-General Frederick Roberts’ orderlies during the 2nd Afghan War (1878-1880) an oil painting by Frederick Swynnerton (NAM UK.)

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TYPES OF INDIAN SOLDIERS IN THE CONTINGENT. From Top Left: Possible Havildar Sikh Lancers, Gurkha Soldier and a Subadar Gurdatt or Gurdit Singh 15th Ludhiana Sikhs with two children. From Bottom Left: Three Indian Officers and an Officer and his Servant.

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Horse riding skills including tent-pegging, acrobatics and relaxing playing chess.

Indian Contingent on RIMS Dalhousie AIHS

The Indian Contingent arriving in New Zealand on the R.I.M.S. Dalhousie, 11 February 1901.

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Indian Contingent preparing to leave Auckland New Zealand to visit to Hobart, Tasmania. Servants carrying luggage and equipment on board S.S. Dalhousie on 1st March 1901.

DEATH OF QUEEN VICTORIA Unfortunately Queen Victoria died on the 22 January 1901.  Processions and memorial services were held in each of the Australian States.  The Indian Contingent took part in the procession and memorial service in Melbourne.  The duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York opened the first Commonwealth Parliament in Melbourne, Victoria in May 1901.

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Left: The Indian Contingent marching through the Wool Arch in Bridge Street, Sydney, 1. January 1901.  Right: The Indian Contingent marching in the funeral procession in Melbourne, for Queen Victoria.  

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1. 1st Life Guards. 2. 2nd Life Guards. 3. 21st (Empress of India’s) Lancers. 4. Horse Guards (Blue) 5. 7th (Queen’s Own) Hussars. 6. King’s Dragoon Guards. 7. Duke of Connaught Bengal Lancers. 8. 1st Bengal Cavalry. 9. The Viceroy’s Body Guard. 10. Royal Horse Artilery. 11. Royal Engineers. 12. Queen’s Royal West Surrey. 13. Royal Field Artillery. 14. Highland (Black Watch) Piper. 15. Royal Welsh Fusiliers. 16. Northumberland Fusiliers. 17. Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. 19. Royal Engineers (Balloon and Telegraph). 20. East Kent (Buffs). 21. King’s Own Rifle Corps. 22. Scottish Rifles (Cameronians). 23. Highland Light Infantry. 24. Cameron Highlanders (Queen’s Own). 25. Black Watch. — 26. Grenadier Guards.27. Royal Irish Rifles. 28. Coldstream Guards. 29. Seaforth Highlanders. 30. Army Service Corps. 31. 1st Middlesex Rifles (Victoria and St. George’s). Shows soldiers in military uniforms, on foot and on horseback.


Selected Bibliography:

Federation. The Inaugural Celebrations. The Advertiser, Adelaide, SA  2 November 1900.
The Argus Melbourne, Vic. 2 November 1900.

The Indian Contingent: The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. 2 November 1900
West Australia The Imperial Troops Arrival of the Indian Contingent. The Mercury Hobart, Tas. 22 December 1900.
Imperial Troops Arrival in Sydney. The Queenslander (Brisbane, Qld. 29 December 1900.
Interview with Lt. Peyton. The Dalhousie. The Sydney Morning Herald NSW. 24 December 1900.
Arrival of the Troopships… Dalhousie. The Brisbane Courier Qld. 17 January 1901.
The Western Section. Its Arrival Last Night. Evening Post, 25 February 1901.
The Indian Contingent. The Argus Melbourne, Vic. 22 January 1901.
Victoria. The West Australian (Perth, WA . 1 February 1901.
The Indian Troops. Colonist, Rōrahi XLIV, Putanga 10040, 23 Huitanguru 1901.
First Parliament Victoria. Daily Telegraph, January 2, 1901.
Auckland Weekley January/February/March 1901.
Auckland City Libraries,Tāmaki Pātaka Kōrero, Sir George Grey Special Collection.
National Army Museum London, UK.
State Library of Victoria.

© Len Kenna & Crystal Jordan
Are Indians an Ethnic Minority? Vols. 1-5 – 2008-2013.