This informally posed photo was taken in front of the old grandstand at Mortlake's recreation (football) oval. It shows 17 troopers in uniform, holding rifles. There are 7 horses, one trooper is mounted. All wear an early version of the slouch hat. An interested group of mainly boys and a few men, including a policeman, watch from the grandstand.
Shows early preparation for national defence or conflict, at a local level. Britain had withdrawn its defence forces from the colonies in 1870, so the States had to provide their own. District defence groups were common at this time, meeting regularly for training. This un-named and un-dated photo appears to be a local (Mortlake) unit of the Victorian Mounted Rifles c. 1885,[A local expert on weaponry believes they are from the 'Victorian Rangers' judging from their rifles.] They were precursors of the Light Horse regiments of the Boer and First World Wars. Mortlake has its own Boer War Memorial (1902) in Mortlake Botanic Gardens.
Rectangular sepia photograph on cardboard backing