Obituaries Australia

  • Tip: searches only the name field
  • Tip: use double quotes to search for a phrase
  • Tip: lists of awards, schools, organisations etc

Browse Lists:

Cultural Advice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains names, images, and voices of deceased persons.

In addition, some articles contain terms or views that were acceptable within mainstream Australian culture in the period in which they were written, but may no longer be considered appropriate.

These articles do not necessarily reflect the views of The Australian National University.

John Soame Richardson (1836–1896)

Major-General John Soame Richardson, C.B., who for 25 years occupied the position as commandant of the New South Wales defence forces, died on Tuesday night. Ever since his retirement from the service, about four years ago, he has been known to be in a very weak state, and quite recently he has suffered several collapses, but even then it was thought that he would pull through for some months at least. The news was immediately communicated to the military headquarters, and yesterday morning a general order was issued, intimating that the remains of the deceased General would he accorded a military funeral. It was in these terms: — "The general officer commanding notifies with the deepest regret, in which he is convinced the whole force will concur, the death of Maj.-General Richardson, C.B., formerly and for over 25 years commandant of the military forces of New South Wales. The Major-General commanding invites every officer, non-commissioned officer, and man of the forces, who can possibly attend, to be present in review order at the military funeral which will be accorded, with the approval of the Government, tomorrow (Thursday), the 11th inst., to their former 'lamented and ever-to-be-respected commandant." The deceased officer leaves a widow, several daughters, and one son, who holds a commission in the Imperial service, and is now with his regiment in England.

Major-General Richardson joined the Imperial service as an ensign in the 76th (Seaforth Islanders) in November, 1854. He had not been more than 12 months on duty before he was ordered to the Crimea with the troops, and there he was present as a lieutenant at the siege and fall of Sebastopol. After the Crimean war he exchanged into the 12th Infantry Regiment, and soon afterwards came out with his men to New Zealand, serving through the Taranaki campaign of 1860-01. He was then promoted to the rank of captain, and two years later served with the first battalion of the 12th Foot through the Waikato disturbance. At the conclusion of the campaign he came over to this colony with the rank of major, and was offered the command of our local defence forces. This was in 1865. He accepted the position, which carried with it the rank of lieutenant-colonel. In 1876 he was raised to a colonelcy, and in 1885 he went to the Sudan as commandant or the New South Wales contingent, taking part in the advance on Tamal, for which service he was specially mentioned in dispatches, and was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath, with promotion to the rank of major-general. In 1881 he was a member of the Royal Commission on Defences, oyer which Sir James Martin presided in Sydney, and he was also a member of the commission appointed by the Imperial Government and the Australian authorities to inquire into the federal defences of King George's Sound and Thursday Island. During the course of his administration here he made several marked changes in our forces, entirely re-organising them on several occasions. He was also the originator of the partially-paid system now in operation in most of the colonies. He had a hand, too, in the formation of the reserve rifle companies.

The funeral to-day will leave Heathfield, the residence of Mrs. Richardson, Wallis-street, Woollahra, for Waverley Cemetery, at half-past 2 o'clock. The following arrangements have been made for the ceremony: — The officer commanding Brigade Division Field Artillery will arrange for a salute of 11 minute guns being fired while the body is proceeding to the place of interment, and for a further similar salute when the body is deposited in the grave. The officer commanding Brigade Division Field Artillery will also arrange for the necessary gun carriage, duly horsed, being at Heathfield by 2 p.m. The escort will be formed of the Cavalry available and the 1st Garrison Division Artillery. Other arms of the service able to attend will follow in procession according to seniority of corps, Juniors in front, officers in rear of troops, but one officer is to be left with each regiment and corps in charge. Troops taking part in the procession, other than these detailed for the escort, will wear review order with side arms only. Major Boam, D.A.A. General, and Captain Legge, general staff, adjutant 2nd Infantry Regiment, will act as processional officers. The following will be the pall-bearers: — Major-General French, C.M.G., R.A., commanding New South Wales military forces; Colonel Roberts, C.M.G., military secretary; Captain Hixson, late R.N. , commanding Naval forces of New South Wales; Colonel Spalding, C.M.G., commanding Artillery forces; Colonel Mackenzie, assistant adjutant, general and chief staff officer; Lieutenant-Colonel and Brevet-Colonel Taunton, assistant quartermaster-general; Surgeon-Colonel Williams, principal medical officer; Colonel Holborrow, C.M.G., commanding 3rd Infantry Regiment; Colonel Stokes, commanding 4th Infantry Regiment; Colonel Macdonald, commandant Mounted Brigade. The 1st Garrison Division will furnish the necessary carrying party, to be at Heathfield at 2 p.m. At the conclusion of the ceremony troops will march to their private parades; but are on no account to be dismissed within half a mile of the cemetery. No firing party beyond that supplied by the guns will be required.

Original publication

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Richardson, John Soame (1836–1896)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 July 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


16 March, 1836
Heydon, Norfolk, England


9 June, 1896 (aged 60)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Military Service
Key Organisations
Key Places
Social Issues