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Digger Humour Collection

Website of the Royal New South Wales Lancers Lancer Barracks and Museum
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The NSW Lancers Museum acknowledges Hydraulic Pumps Australia for their generous assistance

Australian soldiers poked fun at danger, appalling conditions and the pompous (usually officers!), in peace and war from the Boer War in 1889 to the present day.

Using a rich and rare collection of soldiers’ diaries, cartoons, official and unofficial trench news sheets, unit publications and period commercial magazines, our Museum collection lets you see how Digger humour has evolved over 120 years, always reflecting the standards of the day but always pushing the boundaries of the acceptable. See what was acceptable yesterday but would not be today, and what is acceptable today but would not be acceptable in times gone by – Victorian humour was very different from today’s.

Read five Banjo Patterson Boer War poems written and signed by him in a Lancers War diary, and how they vary from what you would google today, versions that were changed by Banjo’s 1899 editors, Angus and Robertson. They clearly thought Banjo had been influenced by coarse Aussie soldiers, and his language no longer suited the sensibilities of their Victorian readers. What you google is NOT what Banjo wrote.

Did you know that the Light Horse in WW1 had a camel field ambulance? If not come to the Museum and read all about it in the unit’s war time journal, "The Cacolet" (the baskets hung either side of the camel in which the wounded travelled - uncomfortably); or what the Lancer tank crews thought about the US commander of their tank landing craft, which accidently collided with New Guinea on route to Australia’s largest ever armoured assault in Borneo in 1945.

© New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated
ABN 94 630 140 881 - - - Site Updated October 2018
Lancer Barracks, 2 Smith Street, Parramatta NSW 2150, Australia
Telephone +61 (0)405 482 814, E-mail:
For Regimental enquiries call: +61 (0)2 9635 7822