Lantern slide depicting a member of the Victorian Mounted Rifles (although inscribed 'Victoria' Mounted Rifles), Sergeant-Major Robert Arthur Algie, who was in London attending Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubliee. He presented Queen Victoria with a kangaroo, depicted.

Algie's presence at the Jubilee celebrations in England was reported in the Ballarat Star: 'Amongst the curious incidents of the Jubilee celebration in England there is one in which Sergeant-Major Algie, of the Victorian Mounted Rifles, figures (says the Herald). The gallant sergeant-major had been sent, in charge of the kangaroo which the Queen had accepted as a present from the detachment, to the Prince Consort's show farm at Windsor. There the fine soldierly bearing and pleasant manner of the old Ballarat boy made due impression, and, as usual, Algie had a word or two to say to the ladies of the household. One of them was so charmed that out of the fulness of her emotions she spoke. "Dear me," she exclaimed, "how well you talk. Well, I suppose if you spoke in your own language we couldn't understand you!" What the fair thing thought can perhaps be imagined, but there is surely involved a grievous injustice to Ballarat.' (2 September 1897)

Another article in the Evening Journal (Adelaide), 28 August 1897, records that Algie took the kangaroo from Chelsea Barracks to Windsor for the handover. The image is more likely to have been taken at Chelsea Barracks than Windsor, given the visible window in the photo. The hand-over of the kangaroo was also reported in the Avoca Mail, 17 August 1897: 'On Wednesday afternoon the kangaroo brought over by the Victorian Mounted Rifles was taken by Sergeant-Major Algie and Private McLellan to Windsor Castle, to be left for the Queen, who had accepted the offer of the contingent to present it to her. The marsupial was handed over to the representative of Her Majesty. The collar worn by the kangaroo bore the following inscription: - ' Daisy Bell. Presented the Queen Empress by the detachment of Victorian Mounted Rifles on duty in England at the Jubilee celebrations, 1897.'

Formed in 1885, the Victorian Mounted Rifle companies were recruited in rural centres. Members of country rifle clubs formed a significant component. A small allowance was paid to members. Mounted Riflemen were required to provide their own mount. They were disbanded in 1901. Not to be confused with similarly named contingents to the Boer War.

Description of Content

Photograph of soldier in Victoria Mounted Rifles uniform. Small joey or wallaby at his side - perhaps a mascot. The soldier wears a buttoned tonic, leather belt at waist and across chest, sword in sheath on left side, long boots and cap with broad plaited band. A brick (?) building and two folding tables can be seen behind him.

Physical Description

Glass lantern slide, square, printed with black and white photograph. Slide has black edging.

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