The permanent naval force of the Colony of Victoria was known as the Victorian Navy. The part time force was known as the Victorian Naval Brigade1. Combined these two forces were known as the Victorian Naval Forces.
An entry in the Victorian Government Gazette of 23 August 1895 illustrates the difference between the Victorian Navy and the Victorian Naval Forces.
Towards the bottom of the item in the above mentioned Gazette, the following statement appears:-
"Alexander Harrow, Chief Engineer, Victorian Navy, being placed on the Retired List of the Victorian Naval Forces from and after 30th June 1895." (our emphasis)
That the same terminology was used in Britain is evidenced by an article, sourced from the War Office, in the London Gazette of 6 November 1900. As one of a list of those to whom Queen Victoria was awarding the Distinguished Service Order, the article listed "Lieutenant William Jarvie Colquhoun, Victorian Navy".
The Victorian Government Gazette and the Navy Lists used the abreviations V.N. or V.N.B. after the men's names to indicate which force they belonged. The abbreviation R.N. indicated that the person named was on attachment from the British Royal Navy.
1 The part time force was known as the Victorian Volunteer Naval Brigade until 1871 when it became known as the Victorian Naval Reserve. In 1885 it again became known as the Victorian Naval Brigade. The Brigade/Reserve had two divisions, Williamstown and Port Melbourne. Prior to 1884 Port Melbourne was known as Sandridge.