(Photos of this South
Australian Braendlin-Albini kind courtesy of Chris Lener)
GENERALLY: During a time when Australian was in the
midsts of one of several "Russian scares," the state of South
Australia, contracted to purchase from the British firm of Holland
& Holland 500 Enfield breechloading muskets of the
Albini-Braendlin system. These were bought as a
stopgap measure and their purchase was unpopular at the time.
The rifles either never entered service or were withdrawn
shortly thereafter. Many were converted to shotguns for use in
the S.A. prison system.
PHOTO: M1867 South Australian Braendlin-Albini.
Note its slight differences from both the M1868 Italian Naval
Albini-Braendlin and the Japanese
Albini Braendlin. Dimentionally and chambering all three
rifles are nearly identical.
DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: The South Australian
Albini-Braendlin is virtually identical to the M1868
Italian Naval Albini-Braendlin, except that the Italian model
carries brass furniture and the Australian model is equipped with iron
furniture. The breech block of the Italian
rifles are marked "ALBINI-BRAENDLIN PATENT" (Albini, the
co-patent holder, was Italian) while the rifles built under the Holland
contract are marked "BRAENDLIN-ALBINI PATENT" (Braendlin being
British!! See the Italian Albini breech block photo below)
Birmingham proof markings are present on both
The Australian rifles are additionally marked with a 4 digit serial
number below the patent stampings. The barrel ahead of the
receiver is marked "H. Holland" above the firm's address "New bond
Street" (London). The immediately dispositive characteristic of
the South Australian issue rifles
are their "CROWN S.A" markings on the tang of the butt
plate. The rifles are chamberd for the .57 Snider
cartridge, the British standard also utilized in the M1866 British Snider-Enfield.
I was lucky
enough to have received the following excellent letter!!
Date: 1/7/2004 7:23:00 AM Central Standard
I'm relative new comer to the Web
having just gone on line last week. Found your excellent web site &
noted your request for information concerning the South Australian
Braendlin-Albini rifles. These rifles have been well researched here in
South Australia and were, in fact, the subject of a book back in 1981.
The author of said book, Tony Harris, can be contacted at
firstname.lastname@example.org He still has a quantity of the books on
hand. (KD note: The book
is now out of print).
Just a quick run down on the
rifle. They were not, as your source suggested, conversions of P'53's,
but completely new made and while having the general appearance of a
P'53 there were minor differences. Even the bayonets, though almost
identical to the Enfield product, will not fit a P'53. The lock plates
are simply marked 1867 in the centre with a view? mark of a crown
over WT (possibly that of Truman the Birmingham viewer contracted by
S.A.) towards the front. Many other parts of the rifles are also marked
WT but in a different style and these are thought to be the mark
of William Tranter who it appears Holland sub-contracted the
manufacture to. The butt plate tang was indeed marked crown over SA and
had the rack number running a right angles to it. The rack number also
appeared below the head of the cleaning rod, on the socket and elbow of
the bayonet and the frog stud of the bayonet scabbard.
The rifles were ordered after a
trial involving several breech loading systems of the day as the
preferred option of Government Pattern Sniders was not available due to
the Britain first policy of the Imperial Government. The 500
arrived in 1868 at about the time interest in the Volunteer movement
was waning at that, plus at the Military's natural suspicion of
anything that did not emanate from the Imperial Government it is
unlikely that many were issued. 87 were issued to the Police between
1870 & 1881 and some went to the Prisons Dept. 400 were handed over
to the new Commonwealth Government some time on or after the Federation
of the Australian Colonies in 1901. They remained in store until
World War 1 when they were issued for recruit training. It is from this
period that the only known photo of Braendlin-Albinis in military
Books which cover the S.A.
The South Australian
Braendlin-Albini Rifle by A. F. Harris 1981 Published by the Author
Service Arms of the South
Australian Police by Max Slee 1988 Published by the Antique &
Historical Arm Assn. of South Australia
The Military Small Arms of South
Australia 1839-1901 by Anthony F. Harris 1997 Published by the Author
(out of Print)
200 years of Australia Military
Rifles & Bayonets by Ian Skennerton 1988 Published by the Author.
I hope this is of some help to
you. I've attached a photo of my rifle, compared to a Pattern '53, but
will send you some better photos when I can borrow a digital camera.
Top of the breech block rom what I believe to be a M1858/68 Italian Albini-Branedlin
"Crown over S.A." The key dispositive feature of the M1853/68
Page first built: September 1, 2003
Rebuilt February 15, 2004 with additional & revised text and now