M1867 South Australian Braendlin-Albini
(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 The rifles either never entered service or were withdrawn shortly thereafter.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 mounted 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 rifles. 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!!
Subj: S.A. Braendlin-Albini
Date: 1/7/2004 7:23:00 AM Central Standard Time
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 service emanates.
Books which cover the S.A. Braendlin-Albinis:
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 naval rifle.
"Crown over S.A." The key dispositive feature of the M1853/68 South Australian Braendlin-Albini rifle.
Page first built: September 1, 2003
Rebuilt February 15, 2004 with additional & revised text and now pictures.
Updated: Oct 28, 2021