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'Curly' Hutton had many disagreements with ministers of the Australian government.

Image title:
Major General Edward Hutton

Australian War Memorial

Image ID:
neg. no. P03875.002

T Humphrey & Co.

Edward Hutton (1848–1923)

First commander of the Australian army

Hutton was an officer in the British army who came to New South Wales in 1893 to take charge of its army. Most of New South Wales's soldiers were part time, spread all over the colony. He visited all these units and made plans so they could work better together in time of war.

He saw that the forces of the different colonies would have to be able to combine to defend Australia. He would not wait for Federation to happen, and started talking to commanders in other colonies about organising a united army.

When Federation did occur, Hutton was appointed as first commander of Australian forces. He had to combine six forces into one. He upset many part-time soldiers as he appointed new officers, moved officers about, closed down small units, made tougher rules and brought everyone under his control.

He thought Australians made good soldiers, and his plans always included sending Australians to fight in the British Empire's wars. This got him into trouble with governments who said they would almost certainly help Britain in a war but not promise to do so beforehand.