Inscribed pocket watch
From A Troop NSW Cavalry
From the 1850s, Australians formed a number of regional and local 'light horse corps', volunteer units of mounted troops.
The Sydney Light Horse Volunteers were raised in 1883 and became the New South Wales Lancers two years later, after returning from service in the Sudan. In 1899, 100 officers and men travelled to London to participate in military tournaments.
One observer reported that it was as if the lancers, attired in a 'sort of cross between the dress of a stock-rider and a cavalry soldier', had 'grown to the saddles'.
Lancers became the first Australian colonial unit to arrive in southern Africa during the Boer War.
Charles Albin Dalton
Charles Albin Dalton grew up in the Government House cavalry barracks in Sydney, where his father, a British ex-cavalryman, resided as the officer in charge of the Governor’s mounted police escort.
Dalton joined the New South Wales Artillery at the age of 14, and then transferred to the Sydney Light Horse (later the New South Wales Lancers).
In 1891 Dalton was presented with this watch as a wedding gift by members of his local cavalry brigade.
Horses in Australia is part of the National Museum's People and the Environment program. Discover more stories about people's relationships with Australia's natural and built environments on our People and the Environment website.