Uniform of Honorary Major George Bagot Stack (V.D.)

Contributed by: The Cavalcade of History and Fashion Inc.

Tunic & trousers Mess jacket & trousers Stack long jacket collar detail Epaulette detail Sleeve decoration detail Button detail Waistcoat Waistcoat pocket detail Captain Stack in uniform far right Pants seam showing wear from horse riding Invisible mend on inside leg Centre front of mess jacket left side showing inner construction where lining has detached Inside tunic showing detailed tailoring and padding handstitched inner pants waistband showing rough buttonhole Label on mess jacket Inside pants fly front Damage to hem edge pants Quilted silk lining of mess jacket Front edge of tunic showing both hand worked and in seam buttonholes George Bagot Stack Obituuary
Mr George Bagot Stack Oct 8 1930 The History of George Bagot Stack Page 1 written by George Bagot Stack Page 2: The History of George Bagot Stack by George Bagot Stack Retired officers -
George Bagot Stack
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Object information

Significance statement

This uniform is in very good condition and complete with tunic, jacket and vest. It is the uniform of the Second Regiment New South Wales Volunteer Infantry. Captain George Bagot Stack retired from the Infantry on 16th January 1894 and was made an Honorary Major receiving a Volunteer Officer's Decoration. (V.D.) The uniform was made by David Jones and Co. Tailors and Habit Makers Sydney.

A great deal of information is known about Captain George Bagot Stack and his time in the Volunteer Infantry. A short record of his life up until October 1919 in his own handwriting gives some details of his involvement with the 2nd Regiment.

Author: Jeanette Moles, September 2010.


Four pieces

Red mess jacket, with green collar and cuffs. Pointed hem at centre front and centre back.

Black trousers with red flat piping down outside leg.

Red tunic similar style to mess jacket however longer.

Green waistcoat with frogging.

History and Provenance

Births, deaths, marriages, children or family information

George was born on the 12th March 1846 in Maitland. He began work as a civil engineer in the NSW Government Architect's Office. As a young man , in 1860, he joined the Balmain Volunteer Rifle Company . He was commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the Second Regiment, New South Wales Volunteer Infantry on 17th May 1871 and Lieutenant on the 17th August 1876. He retired January, 1894 and was made Honorary Major, receiving the Volunteer Officer's Decoration.

On 5th January 1881 he married Laura Emma Elizabeth Jaques at St Mary's Church in Balmain, Sydney. Laura Emma Elizabeth was the daughter of Theodore James Jaques (1823-1893) (register-general and solicitor) and his wife Mary Ann Jaques of Balmain. George and Laura had two children, Edith Jaques Stack (known as Dita) born 1882 and Walter Jaques Stack born 1884. Walter received a medical degree from the University of Sydney in 1914 and joined the Australian Medical Army Corp. As a result of his First World War Service he was recommended on the 8th March 1918 for a Distinguished Service Order (D.S.O). Edith married Arthur Edmund Colvin (1884-1966) surgeon and physician and also a Member of the N.S.W Legislative Council 1932-34 and 1934-1955.

Walter Jaques Stack married Elinor Holmes (daughter of Marjorie and Norman Holmes) 18th February 1930.

George died 7th October 1930 at his home in Orange NSW and was buried in the Church of England cemetery Orange.

Laura Stack survived her husband by approximately three years.

Do you have any stories or community information associated with this?

To encourage enlistment in the Volunteer movement the Volunteer Land Act was passed in 1867, providing each volunteer who had completed five years of continual and efficient service up to 50 acres.

In 1878 partial payment for services was introduced and the regiment was reorganised to become the First Regiment NSW Infantry, with four companies.

In 1885, the colonists urged the Government of NSW to send a contingent to the Soudan to serve Queen and Empire. 734 men were dispatched, 74 of whom came from the First Regiment. This was named the New South Wales Soudan Contingent and was Australia's first fighting force to serve in an overseas campaign.

With the outbreak of the Boer War in 1898 patriotism again ran high and the Regiment sent 103 of its rank and file to assist "Queen and Empire".

With Federation in 1901 the Regiment became part of the Commonwealth Military Forces redesignated the First Australian Infantry Battalion Royal New South Wales Regiment City of Sydney's own.

How does this garment relate to the wider historical context?

This uniform was manufactured by David Jones the oldest department store in the world which has traded under the same name since commencement of business.

The garment is sewn completely by hand.

The Regimental uniform was at first rifle green with black stripes along the outer seams one and a half inches in width. White trousers were worn in summer.

The old Regiment disbanded in 1860 and a much larger regiment of 2,000 rifles was raised in its place. The unit was re-titled the First Regiment NSW Rifle Volunteers, known as the Sydney Battalion. The uniform adopted was Melton Grey with black facings.

The withdrawal of the British Garrison in 1870 led to a rapid increase in the size of the regiment, to 2,382. Red tunics were adopted in the Sydney Battalion to replace the grey, making the regiment smarter and more soldier-like in appearance.

Where did this information come from?

Some information was received from Mrs W.J.Stack. Much research has taken place to find the details given here.

Research of the State Library of NSW.

Victoria Barracks NSW.

George Bagot Stack's granddaughter supplied further details.

M. Webb, 'Australian Military Uniforms 1800-1982', Kenthurst Kangaroo Press, 1982.

This garment has been exhibited

During the time that Cavalcade of History and Fashion have had the garment it has been displayed and exhibited.

Cavalcade has been caretaker of the garment for approximately 32 years.

  1. Place of origin:

    Balmain, New South Wales, Australia

  2. Cost:

    No record of the uniform cost is available.

    M. Webb states in his book 'Australian Military Uniforms 1800 - 1982', Kangaroo Press, 1982:

    'The Rifle Regiment (to supplement the British Regiment) was to consist of 330 men divided into six companies. All those who enlisted were to provide their own uniform but, because of the cost involved, only the most influential citizens were able to volunteer (an average man's earnings were 7/- to 9/- per week, and uniforms cost from 8 - 10 pounds).'

  3. Owned by:

    George joined Balmain Volunteer Rifle Company 1860, retired January 1894. Mrs (Elinor) Walter Jaques Stack nee Holmes of "Yarras" Bathurst NSW donated this uniform to the Cavalcade collection in 1979. Mrs W.J. Stack is the daughter-in-law of Captain George Bagot Stack.

  4. Worn by:

    Honorary Major George Bagot Stack.

  5. Occasion(s):

    On duty with Balmain Volunteer Rifle Company and the Second Regiment, NSW Volunteer Infantry.

    On retirement awarded Volunteer Officer's decoration.

  6. Place:

    Balmain NSW Australia.

  7. Designed by:

    By NSW Military Government Uniforms.

  8. Made by:

    David Jones Sydney Uniform and Habit Makers.

  9. Made for:

    Captain George Bagot Stack 1846-

Trimmings / Decoration

Mess jacket of red wool velour, trimmed at the sleeve and collar with green wool fabric with a short pile weave. Epaulettes and crown show the rank of a Captain.

Buttons contain these words around the circumference: Military Forces N.S.W. and the same crown which appears on the epaulettes.

Silver rat tail braid appears around the pointed sleeve cuff and at the centre front opening, continuing all around the whole garment edge including all edges of the stand collar.

Waistcoat decorated with frogging around waist pockets.


Silver braid,various types, adorn mess jacket and waistcoat. Epaulettes and crown shows the patterning denoting the rank of Captain.

Fibre / Weave

Waistcoat constructed with two fabrics: green velour (short pile) on the front and green satin on the back (satin weave).

Waistcoat lining in a coarse twill weave possibly of rayon fibre.

Trousers and mess jacket and tunic - wool pile weave velour fabric.

Trouser waistline and fly front button opening both lined with linen fabric.

Trouser pockets constructed with a heavy twill weave possibly rayon fabric.

Trouser waist area bound with bias bind (black). A multicoloured silky ticking fabric has also been used around the waist area. All applied by hand stitching.

Fork of trousers has been lined in a silky ticking fabric.

Fabrics are possibly dyed with natural dye stuff but it is not certain.

  1. Natural dye
  2. Synthetic dye


Silver rat tail braid applied to the mess jacket appears to be applied with a back stitch by hand.

Mess jacket has tailored two-piece sleeves.

Tunic - CF neck is protected by a tongue of fabric covered in black silk satin fabric. This fabric is thought to be applied to protect the wearer as the bulk of the fastening could cause discomfort.

Trousers sewn by hand with back stitch.

All four pieces sewn completely by hand.






Waistcoat has been altered at some point, evidence of seams being let out on the sideseams.

  1. Hand sewn
  2. Machine sewn
  3. Knitted
  4. Other


  1. Bias
  2. Straight


Large brass hook and eyes perform the function of closing the C. Front of mess jacket while continual heavy metal studs (51) are purely decorative.

Four buttons and button holes fasten the trousers fly front.

Large buttons are reinforced with disc of fabric sewn with thick linen thread cream colour

  1. Hook and eye
  2. Lacing
  3. Buttons
  4. Zip
  5. Drawstring

Stiffening / Lining / Padding

Optima used to interface the bodice areas of each the waistcoat, mess jacket and tunic.

Wadding is present as an interlining on the mess jacket and tunic. This wadding provided the padding for the quilted lining of the bodice section/s.

Quilting has been used on each the tunic and mess jacket. This quilting finishes at the waist level on the tunic. The tunic is not lined in the section below the waist.

Optima used to reinforce lining pocket opening on the mess jackets lining.


jacket trousers tunic waistcoat
Neck 420 mm 402 mm
Chest 1015 mm 965 mm
Waist 800 mm 865 mm 845 mm 927 mm
Hip 1052 mm
Cuff 343 mm 295 mm
Hem circumference 1175 mm
Front neck to hem 476 mm 730 mm 550 mm
Front waist to hem 320 mm 470 mm
Back neck to hem 540 mm 760 mm
Back waist to hem 282 mm
Sleeve length 620 mm 620 mm
Inside leg 800 mm
Outside leg 1090 mm
Neck to sleeve head 146 mm 142 mm 98 mm
Cross back 386 mm 405 mm 301 mm
Underarm to underarm 530 mm 475 mm 505 mm
Convert to inches

The first set of jacket measurements relate to the mess jacket.

The second set of jacket measurements relate to the tunic jacket.

All four pieces were measured inside and out.

The measurements on the left of each column is the inside measurement and the other is the outside measurement.

Waistcoat : the depth of the armhole was taken from shoulder to under arm (arm sleeve) 255mm.

Dress Themes

Military uniform

Balmain Volunteer Rifle Company

The Second Regiment, NSW Volunteer Infantry.

Honorary Major decorations, awarded on retirement.

(VD) Volunteer Officers Decorations.

Additional material

Articles, publications, diagrams and receipts descriptions

Maitland, Major General Gordon: "Battle History of the Royal New South Wales Regiment Vol. 1 1885 - 1918", Sydney Simon & Schuster 2001.

Outlines the history of Australia's military from First Fleet to the Boer War.

Webb, M: "Australian Military Uniforms 1800-1982", Kenthurst Kangaroo Press, 1982.

Refers to the military history also but describes the changes in uniform up to and including the Boer War.

Other related objects

Marnie, Flapper Dress worn by Marjorie Florence Smith.

Marnie's Daughter Elinor married George Bagot Stacks son Walter.


Waistcoat - stains appear under the arms on the lining.

- Satin fabric on the back shows signs of wear.

- Silver braid is lifting around the neck edge near shoulder & back neck area.

Red Tunic - Main fabric is stained.

- Lining is damaged due to the rubbing of the large buttons where they are sewn.

- The large buttons have rubbed the lining causing some damage.

Trousers - patched on the inside leg area.

- insect damage to the hem area also

- of the four pieces the trousers seem to have be used more frequently and although in reasonable condition show more wear than any other piece.

Insect damage

To red tunic main fabric.

Trouser hems show evidence of insect damage.


  1. Excellent
  2. Good
  3. Fair
  4. Poor


  1. Holes
  2. Stained
  3. Worn
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