William Ackland Douglas Anderson
Commandant of the military and naval forces of Victoria.
by Hamel & Co, 1860s,
courtesy of National Library of Australia.
In August 1870 the British government withdrew its troops from Australia and in the local reorganization in January 1871 Anderson became commandant of the military and naval forces of Victoria. This dual appointment was probably an economy measure, for he had no professional experience of naval matters. In December 1874 the imperfections of the force he commanded were sharply focused in public attention by 'the Sergeant Empson case'. It began when volunteer non-commissioned officers sent to the commandant, collectively instead of individually, a written statement of a grievance. To Anderson this was an unmilitary procedure and, according to the press, Empson was 'punished on a formal and worthless, if not a contemptible issue'. However, in April 1875 a royal commission on the volunteer forces agreed with Anderson's proposals to amend the Discipline Act of 1870 and recommended drastic reform of the inefficient conditions which he condemned. On 24 May 1878 he was appointed C.M.G.
from Australian Dictionary Of Biography
Print Publication Details: Warren Perry, 'Anderson, William Acland Douglas (1829 - 1882)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 3, Melbourne University Press, 1969, pp 32-33.