Army History

The Australian Army

The Army of Australia is a military land force. The army is a part of Australian Defence Force and also a part of Royal Australian Air Force and Royal Australian Navy. The Army is headed by Chief of Army and Australian Defence Force is commanded by Chief of Defence. Chief of Army is a subordinate to CDF. It is directly under Minister for Defence. The Australian soldiers have participated in several small and big conflicts across its history; they were placed under direct attack in Second World War only.


The early incidents in the history of Australian Army are sectioned into two periods:

1901- 1947

This was the time when the size of regular army and myriads of soldiers who served during the peace time was in the reserve units of Citizens Military Force. This force is also known as CMF or Militia. The Australian Imperial Forces was formed at this time to work overseas.

The Australian Army Photo

Post 1947

During this time a standing peacetime infantry force had been created for regularity and the CMF also known by the name of Army Reserve after 1980 began to recede in significance.

During the history of Australian Army has participated in many big wars which included: Second Boer War, First World War, Second World War, Malayan Emergency, Korean War, Indonesia- Malaysia Confrontation, Vietnam War and the Afghanistan war more recently. Since the year 1947 it had participated in several operations for maintaining peace under United Nations. The biggest operation started in the year 1999 at East Timor. Other significant operations were peace for Bougainville and in Solomon Islands which continue to work today. It also provided humanitarian relief to Aceh Province, Indonesia after the occurrence of Indian Ocean Earthquake. Operation Sumatra Assist was put to an ending on 24th march, 2005.

Recent Developments

In 2010, Australian army had installed important forces which were placed in three major operations.

Operation Slipper

This was Australia's operation on Terror. The Australian army mainly contributed their service to Afghanistan which included Mentoring Task Force that adhered to the Combat Team Oruzgan led on by US in Oruzgan Province. It consisted of one infantry battalion that was attached to cavalry, artillery force and engineer. The other forces were Special Operations Task Group that included SASR and Commando forces that operated in Kandahar and Oruzgan provinces.

Operation Astute

Under this operation about 400 Australian army men as well as 140 New Zealand army personnel worked in East Timor as a part of International Stabilization Force which works to support East Timor government along with United Nations to ensure peace and stability.

The Operation Paladin

It is the longest operation which is still going on. Australian army has been working on it since the year 1956. Operation Paladin was the army's service to UN Truce Supervision Organization which had been established in the year 1948. The work concerned supervising the truce at the end of the Arab/Israeli War.

Operation Mazurka

The Australian army's service to Multinational Force and Observers fell under this operation. Since 1994, the army has kept its place within the organization. The RAAF offered the rotary aviation support to the wing. At present, 25 personnel rotate two times a year which is being employed in HQ, operations and logistics posts.

Operation Anode

This operation comprises of 160 strong Combined Task Force. The Regional Assistance Mission of Solomon Islands is the main constituent of this operation. The ADF add about eighty to a hundred and twenty troops in this operation.

Present Organization

The following is the structure of Australian army at present.

1st Division

It takes the responsibility of most of the army. It is based on the regular army brigades presently that contain a total 10 deployable battlegroups. It consists of 1 brigade which is a mechanized one based in Darwin. 3 brigades consist of light infantry based in Townsville. 7 brigades consist of motorized brigade with its base in Brisbane.

Special Forces

This is a Special Operations Command which is a command squad having equal status with the rest of the commands in ADF. This is a formation of the size of a brigade which is concerned with all Special Forces assets of Australian army.

2nd Division

This is the primary home defence formation which comprised of reserve forces. Its headquarters are located in Sydney and is broken down into 6 brigades. The 6 brigades are as follows-

  • 4 brigade - based in Victoria
  • 13 brigade - based at Western Australia
  • 5 brigade - based in the New South Wales
  • 11 brigade - based in Queensland
  • 9 brigade - based at South Australia as well as Tasmania
  • 8 brigade - based at New South Wales