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Australian Army Apprentices School


Contributed by Trevor STUBBERFIELD (52A)



AAAS, not a typing error but the Australian Army Apprentices School.  This was a post on the AOBA Website by John SWARBRICK (62A) Arborfield.  I must admit it came as a complete surprise to me and thought it might be of interest to a few of our readers.  



Cap Badges


Photo reproduced by kind permission of John Swarbrick © Copyright 




Army Apprentices School

Army Apprentices School



The Australian Army Apprentices Association Inc. Memorial.

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AAS_Memorial_002 w



Dedication Ceremony

The Memorial was unveiled by the Association President and Principle Designer Frank Poole (10th Intake) and the Patron LtGen Ken Gillespie (23rd Intake) on Sunday 26 October 2008 as part of the 60th Anniversary Celebrations with approximately 700 Apprentices and guests. The Memorial was dedicated by two ordained Apprentices, Rev Bryan Nicholls ( 11th Intake) and Rev Craig Potter (38th Intake)

The dedication statement reads;
“This memorial is dedicated to the 8000 Australian youths who trained at the Australian Army Apprentices School at Balcombe and later at Bonegilla between 1948 and 1995. These soldiers used the skills and personal values instilled during their time at the School to ensure the continuing high standards of technical efficiency of the Australian Army and of their later contributions to the community.
The memorial is particularly dedicated to those Apprentices who paid the supreme sacrifice whilst serving in Australia and overseas.

This dedication recognises all who entered the Apprentices School, not just those who graduated, and recognises all trades including band and clerks. It recognises the contribution made by those who practiced their trade throughout their career and those who changed to non-trade corps and the many who later became officers and non-trade NCOs/WOs


Please Note: The page reproduced above appears on the Australian Army Apprentices Association web site. The full story of how the memorial project was brought to fruition can be read from the section on the site which can be accessed from the link above..

Copyright © Australian Army Apprentices Association Inc. 


Australian Army Apprentices mark 60 years.


ARMY apprentices …quick march! And they did, with a spring in their collective step, to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Australian Army Apprentices School at Bandiana, Victoria.

Townsville is home to many Army apprentices ... not ex-Army apprentices, mind you, because the term is ageless. Two locals who attended, Bruno Kwasi and Jim Jones, both had a great time and were enthusiastic in their praise for the reunion, held from October 24-26.

The Patron is Chief of Army LT. GEN. Ken Gillespie, a 23rd intake apprentice brickie. LT. GEN Gillespie took the salute at the march past at the Albury Convention Centre on the Saturday morning and addressed the formal reunion dinner at night.

Apprentices are proud of their intakes, and all were represented, including the first intake, all of whom are now well into their 80s.

Keith “KT” Thomas, who with others graduated from the first intake at Balcombe, Victoria, in 1948, proposed the toast to the apprentices at the dinner. The final intake members are now in their early 30s, the latter numbers graduating from Albury’s Latchford Barracks which were opened for inspection on the Saturday afternoon.

A memorial is being developed in the grounds of the Australian Army Apprentice Memorial Park, Gaza Ridge Barracks at Bandiana. The Sunday dedication was a special moment that will not be forgotten. The memorial will be a lasting tribute to apprentices who gave their lives on active duty.

Later an historic flag appeared; it was the earliest known Apprentices School flag and was presented to the Army Museum’s MAJ G Docksey by organising committee chairman Frank Maloney. The flag itself was provided by an elderly sapper who wishes to remain anonymous for fear of being confined to barracks for having given himself permission to look after the flag for apprentice reunions of the future. All present agreed that the sapper had shown foresight and initiative, typical of an Army Apprentice.

Will there ever be another mass reunion? There are no plans at this stage, but the 13th intake could assemble on the Gold Coast in 2010.


(Army apprentice

12/13 - carpenter)


This report is sourced from, and the Copyright © remains with,

The Northern Services Courier


To access the original report, in pdf. format:  CLICK HERE. 


First Published: 21st November 2005.

Latest Update: 3rd November 2015.









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