Historical information

The subject leather leggings are associated with mounted troops known as the Australian Light Horse that served in the South African War from 1899 to 1902. After the war, Britain wanted to use fewer mounted troops and restructured its force around a style of combat that needed more infantry. But the defence of Australia still relied upon mounted military units as these were more mobile than infantry and could travel faster over long distances. Light Horse brigades in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) mostly contained recruits who served in the Light Horse regiments of the Citizen Forces.
Many young men from rural areas of Australia volunteered for the Light Horse regiments. They had to pass a riding test to join, this test was easier for men from the bush because horses were still the main method of transport on farms and in country towns.
The army did not officially accept First Australians into the AIF until May 1917 when enlistment standards were relaxed to include 'half-castes' with a parent of European origin. Indigenous soldiers served as valuable members of the Light Horse and many possessed excellent horse handling skills and specialist tracking knowledge.


The subject items are part of the uniform for the Light Horse Units that served in the Australian army from 1899 until 1918. These leggings were worn by soldiers on horseback and are significant as they represent a noteworthy time in Australia's early military history. It was a time when many young men gave their lives during the South African and First World Wars in the defence of the then British Empire as part of the Imperial Forces that were gathered from many British-controlled Colonial countries.

Physical description

A pair of two Leather Leggings used by Mounted Australian soldiers during the first world war. The leggings are dark tan in colour with stitching to attach buckles and fastener straps. The strap buckles are made of brass and the leather legging straps are of same leather as leggings.

Inscriptions & markings