Prior to 1901 Australia was a collection of British colonies administrated by their own Governors and governments. This however did not stop us from appearing on the international military stage. As early as 1845 Australians were serving in the military, even though they were amalgamated into British regiments.
Australians took part in the Maori wars (1845 and 1860-61), the Crimean War (1854-56), the Sudan (1855), the Boxer Rebellion (1900-1901) and the South African War (Boer War, 1899 - 1902) all pre Federation.
Those who served in South Africa and China left Australia as troops raised by individual colonies; they returned to a united and federated Australia. All volunteers, there was no conscription required to raise troops for these conflicts.
To learn more about the conflicts mentioned above and the range of resources available select from the drop down list available at the 1854-1902 Conflicts tab.
Large numbers of volunteers also formed local militias who served the needs of the colonies pre 1901. For details of South Australian militia go to the Militia tab.