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Marines in Australia

The first troops to serve in Australia were four companies of British Marine Corps, who arrived with the first fleet in 1788.  This detachment consisted of 16 officers, 12 sergeants, 12 corporals, 8 drum and fife and 160 privates, which served mainly as a convict guard. 

The convicts would have probably revolted if they found out the marines had actually left their ammunition and musket balls on the docks at Portsmouth.

Unlike the NSW corps who relieved them, the marines were well disciplined and well behaved during their service, often sharing in the hardships and fears of the first settlers, whilst at the same time never becoming tyrannical or oppressive. 

It was marine expeditions that led to the opening up of much of the land around Sydney for settlement.

Many of the marines on the first fleet were former tradesmen displaced by the industrial revolution and they helped build the fledging colony and became the first schoolteachers, armourers, police, ship-builders, and masons etc.   

40 women, mostly wives to the marines, were permitted to set sail with the garrison. 

Some of the marines opted to take convict women for wives and mistresses for the duration of their time in Sydney.    

The uniform of the marines is the traditional red coat, white trousers, black gaiters and a bicorn hat. The facings were white, indicating a naval or marine unit. Marines also wear white cross belts with a “fouled anchor” on the cross-plate.

The NSW Corps of Marines members recreate the lives and times of the First Fleet Marines, sailors, convicts, gentlemen of quality and their ladies.
There is a role in the group for all who wish to participate. Their goals include, imforming and educating Australians of their history in an entertaining and faithful manner.

For your next event the marines can supply - Marine, Naval and NSW Corps, guest speakers, honour guards, cannon salutes, musket firings, period camps and living history skill demonstrations and are experienced television and film extras. 

For more information and enquiries phone Mitch Sutton, 0401 521 952  or Debra Jones, 02 4620 5789 or email