Governor Gawler as a military man had seen service at Waterloo. His great friend Major General Sir William Ponsonby had been killed while serving with the 6th Dragoon Carbineers. It is considered possible that Gawler adopted the uniform of the 6th Dragoon Carbineers for the Mounted Police.
The winter uniform consisted of navy blue trousers with broad double white stripes down the sides. There was an elastic strap fastening to be fitted under the elastic-sided black boots to the heels of which military spurs were attached. Silver shoulder knots on a navy blue tunic with silver buttons, patent leather cross-belt with pouch, and double peaked ‘shako’ - type cap completed the dress. Swords were worn at all times. Later they were discarded except for ceremonial drill.
In summer time, peacock blue Garibaldi jackets were worn, these being diamond quilted in black silk on the front and on the cuffs to the elbows. The men also wore white cotton gloves. This uniform was much admired by the public of the day.
The Garibaldi jacket was discarded in 1884, when Commissioner Peterswald also introduced for summer wear the spiked helmet and chain. A change was made in the trousers also. Riding breeches with the double white stripe, together with the concertina Wellington boots were adopted for mounted duty, the long blues being retained for walking out.
In 1884 an introduction was made of numerals on caps and helmets. Various styles of uniform were tried, including at one stage all-white uniforms for the Foot Police in summer time, as a change from the blue coats. It was found that the trouble and cost of laundering was against this style of dress.
The Foot Police did at one time wear a frock type jacket with belt and white mole-skin trousers. The belt was for the purpose of carrying the oil lamp before the invention of torches, and from the belt also swung the baton.
During the late 1920’s the ‘shako’ cap of the Foot Police was replaced by a peaked cap similar to that worn in the present day. The Mounted Police retained their ‘shakos’ until 1949, wearing them with winter uniform and evening dress. With summer dress they wore a white spiked helmet. As an interesting aside, for several years during World War 1 the spikes were removed from the helmets as they were considered to be too Germanic in there appearance.
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