A soldier of the Ballarat Militia, William John Atkinson, photographed in 1890.

The 'Ballarat Battalion of the militia' (also known as the Ballarat battalion of the Volunteer Militia and the Ballarat battalion of the Victorian Militia) became a sizable force, reporting in 1885 that recruiting had stopped as it had achieved full strength at 800 men. (Euroa Advertiser, 15 May 1885, p.2) Members of the militia came from a broad range of professions, and included miners, carpenters, cabinet-makers, solicitors, teachers and compositors. Candidates ranged in age from 18 to 45, with the majority being under 30 years old. They were 'examined' before being accepted into the militia - a report in the Ballarat Star newspaper in 1884 suggests that about 10% were rejected on physical grounds including 'deficient chest measurement', varicose veins and defective vision. Those accepted took an oath to 'serve their Queen and country for the period of five years' or until discharged, dismissed or removed. Militia members took part in drills and marches, played football, attended lectures and formed a military band. A rifle club was set up 'in connexion with' the Ballarat militia.

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Man in uniform, standing, holding rifle with butt on ground. He wears a pith helmet and a backpack. He stands in front of a weatherboard building with a corrugated iron roof.

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