Joint media release:
- Federal Member for Riverina, the Hon Michael McCormack MP
Kapooka, the ‘home of the soldier’, today celebrates 70 years of training Australian soldiers to be among the best in the world.
Around 350,000 Australians have now passed through the iconic Army Recruit Training Centre (ARTC), located at Blamey Barracks in Kapooka, near Wagga Wagga in New South Wales.
Today’s anniversary was marked with a graduation parade for around 60 of Australia’s newest soldiers, attended by Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd).
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Andrew Gee said the quality of our soldiers and the international regard in which they are held was testament to the training received at Kapooka.
“The standards of training, mentoring and leadership shown by the staff at Kapooka over the last 70 years has ensured our nation has been protected by soldiers of the highest calibre,” Minister Gee said.
“Generations of graduate soldiers from Kapooka have proven their worth in every conflict and emergency the nation has faced since the Korean War.
“The ‘home of the soldier’ is a uniquely Australian asset that contributes to both our national security and our national character, through the standards and loyalty instilled into every recruit.”
Member for Riverina Michael McCormack said the Blamey Barracks in Kapooka remains a world-class training establishment right in the heart of the Riverina.
“Every Australian soldier begins their career at Kapooka, to learn the basic skills and the foundations to grow into capable, confident military leaders,” Mr McCormack said.
“We should admire and respect the achievements of this base over the past 70 years, and also recognise its previous service as the training base for Australian Army engineers in World War II.”
Originally commencing operations in 1951 as the 1st Recruit Training Battalion, much of the base’s existing structures can be traced back to 1966, when the Governor of New South Wales Sir Roden Cutler, VC, KCMG, CBE, opened the new facilities for both National Service and Regular Army recruits as the Vietnam conflict escalated.
Between 1965 and 1972 alone, in excess of ten thousand National Servicemen trained at Kapooka, and in 1985 Kapooka became responsible for the training of female recruits.
Soldier training at Kapooka includes fitness, weapons handling, combat skills, first aid, teamwork and self-organisation skills.
A package containing file photos, recent training imagery and photos from today’s parade will be available this afternoon at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20213393
A video package including recent training, current staff interviews and today’s parade will be available this afternoon at: https://innovatehub.sharepoint.com/:f:/s/mediahub/EkkKLXBkIyVCmpajYgbY-fYBPqQ7lNsswvcHb491T3JKZA?e=I8GzJh