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
Apprentices are proud of their intakes, and all
were represented, including the first intake, all of whom are now well into
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
A memorial is being developed in the grounds of
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
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.
12/13 - carpenter)
This report is sourced from, and the
Copyright © remains with,
Northern Services Courier
To access the original report, in pdf. format:
Published: 21st November 2005.