Australian Army Apprentices Memorial

Posted on 3 September 2019
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The Australian Army Apprentices Memorial was dedicated on 26th October 2008 to all Apprentices who supported the Australian Army in war and peace and, in particular, to those killed in action or who lost their lives on overseas service. The Memorial allows all Apprentices and their families to permanently record, by means of inscribed pavers or plaques, their place as an Army Apprentice.

Based on the design and working drawings by Frank Poole (10th Intake Architectural Draughtsman), quotes were called for its construction. Premier Construction was invited to build the Memorial using contributed material from Greg Bayliss (21st Intake Vehicle Mechanic – the bricks) and Pronto Mixed Concrete. The gates were built and donated by ASEME tradespersons; the Apprentices School badge was sculptured by Ray Bertazzo, Bertazzo Engineering (34th Intake Fitter & Turner); and the flagpole built by SME trade trainees.

Funding was provided by generous donations from Raytheon Australia, BAE Systems, and the Department of Veterans' Affairs, and a great number of personal and intake donations from Apprentices Australia wide. Apprentices continue to contribute to the Memorial, ensuring its ongoing development and maintenance.

The walls and support columns represent the Apprentice-built US 1st Marine Division Memorial walls at Balcombe. Each wall represents a School and the names BALCOMBE and BONEGILLA are at the top of their respective walls.

The Memorial gates are copies of the Apprentice-built “top gates” from Balcombe, which were relocated from Balcombe to Latchford Barracks. These gates were built as a gift by the Army School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (ASEME) with material donated by the Royal Australian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (RAEME) Association.

The paved area represents the Schools’ parade grounds with engraved pavers representing the thousands of Apprentices who spent hours on these parade grounds. In Army tradition, parade grounds are hallowed ground.

The flagpole as fabricated at and donated by the School of Military Engineering (SME) and supports the Australian or Apprentices School flags. The flags remind us of our pride, loyalty and honour to our country and our mates.

The central pit containing the Apprentices School badge sculpture and dedication plaque represents a weapons pit to remind us that we were all bloody good soldiers.

The Apprentices School badge sculpture, the dominant feature of the Memorial, signifies the excellent education, trade and military training received by Army Apprentices. The badge is now incorporated into the badges of the Army Logistic Training Centre (ALTC) and ASEME, based at Bandiana and Bonegilla.

The garden contains long-lasting evergreen conifers, which act as a reminder of the green of the jungle in which so many Apprentices found themselves serving.

The large boulder with engraved KIA names at the front of the Memorial, originally part of the RAEME Memorial, was given by RAEME to the Association.

The Reflection Seat, which was donated by Jock McWhinney (10th Intake Blacksmith), allows visitors to rest and reflect on the values that the Army Apprentice Scheme gave to the Army and to each person who passed that way.