Cadets gathered on an oval in Ballarat in 1915.

In March 1906 all military Australian cadets were brought under Commonwealth control, creating a uniform cadet system across Australia. At that time the Geelong Advertiser (30 March 1906, p.4) reported that Victoria had 4,000 cadets. The Cadet Corps was formed under the Commonwealth Defence Acts 1903-1904, and the regulations required the cooperation of public schools in the formation of cadet corps and the recommendation of officers both permanent and volunteer) for appointment to the cadet force. The cadets were ganised into battalions and companies, approximating those in force for the senior branches. It was hoped that Victoria would soon have 6,000 cadets. Uniforms were decided by each state, to which cadets had to add shoulder straps bearing the number of the battalion to which they belonged; a special school badge could also be worn on the collar.

The Commonwealth Defence Act of 1909 paved the way for Australian males aged between 18 and 60 years to perform militiary service. Three aged-based levels of commitment were required: boys 12-14 years old ( junior cadets), boys 14-18 years old (senior cadets), and men 18-26 years old (Commonwealth Military Forces, aka home defence militia). Exemptions were granted - for instance on the basis of long travel or medical unfitness, but fines or jail sentences were handed out to those who failed to register.

The photograph MM 68036 show cadets wearing their characteristic domed crown hats.

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Uniformed boys, dressed as cadets, gathered on an oval.

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