The photograph was originally identified by the donor as Sea Scouts marching through Ballarat around 1912. According to Scouts Australia, the Sea Scouts were formed in 1910. The formation of the Ballarat Sea Scouts chapter, however, was only reported in Melbourne newspapers in late 1933 and early 1934. It operated under the direction of Mr T. Kirby, with Mr M. Anderson as scout master. District Commissioner Rogers presented a boat for use, and training was undertaken on Lake Wendouree.

It is likely that this photograph instead depicts the march by the Ballarat Naval Cadets to Melbourne to participate in commemorations associated with the visit of the 'Great White Fleet' of ships from the United States of America, which visited Australia in 1908 as part of a world publicity tour. Donation information with the photograph does include the note that 'the scouts could not afford the rail fare to Melbourne and so walked the distance unaided'. This is reminiscent of the account of the Ballarat Naval Cadets having to march to Melbourne in 1908 for the Great White Fleet visit because defence authorities had refused to pay their rail fare from Ballarat to Melbourne. They were led by Lieutenant Adeney, and attracted great crowds and enthusiasm on their march, so much so that at the end of their march, 'Adeney's cadets' were met by Prime Minister Alfred Deakin, the member for Ballarat.

The march left Ballarat on 25 August 1908, with the Bendigo Advertiser reporting that 'The lads were uniformed, similarly to the metropolitan cadets, and they carried Martini rifles and artillery sword bayonets', as seen in the photograph. The Ballarat Historical Society holds a photograph of the Ballarat Naval Cadets in 1908, associated with the march, which shows they dressed as they appear in MM 001360, including scarves, caps and rifles.

According to the donor, amongst the marchers (although not identifiable) is Michael Cummins. He later served in World War I, and his homecoming in 1919 is depicted in MM 001358. His attestation paper for service in World War I records that he was formerly in the Naval Cadets, further confirming the identification of the photograph as a march of the Ballarat Naval Cadets.

Description of Content

Boys in uniform marching through a central intersection in Ballarat on their way to Melbourne. Two and three-storied brick buildings line the streets and the ANZ bank building is on the corner in the background. Numerous horsedrawn vehicles, people on bicycles and pedestrians are in the bustling scene, many accompanying the marching boys. A brass band leads the march on tram or train lines positioned in the middle of the roadway. A statue and fountain can be seen in the background.

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