1970s

The Battalion returning from Vietnam was warned for service in Malaysia in support of the Five-Power Defence Arrangement. This arrangement was made to fill the gap expected by the planned withdrawal of the 28th Commonwealth Brigade and the British Commonwealth Far East Strategic Reserve. This new agreement involved the formation of an Australian, New Zealand and British force. (ANZUK) 1 RAR under the command of Lt Col J.B. Trenerry moved to Terendak Camp, Malacca, Malaysia in April 1969. The RSM was WO 1 D C Dalton.

After two major exercises, ‘Jumping Wallaby’ and ‘Sheer Hell’, the unit withdrew from Malaysia, joining the Selarang garrison in Singapore in December 1969. The battalion remained in Singapore until July 1971 when it returned to Australia to Lavarack Barracks in Townsville.

Lt Col Hodkinson assumed command of the battalion on its return to Australia. The RSM was WO 1 J G Currie MBE. Cyclone ALTHEA devestated areas in North Queensland and on 24th December 1971, 1 RAR was recalled from leave to provide “aid to the civil community”. The battalion barracks became a relief centre and personnel were heavily engaged in the restoration programme in the Townsville and local areas.

In 1972, 1 RAR was involved in exercise “Treble Charge” in Papua New Guinea. A change of government (Whitlam) in December 1972 saw the end of National Service, which resulted in manpower shortages through the RAR. Many of these soldiers lost out on long-term benefits because of the action of the new government. They were simply told to “Go home”.

The 1970s was a time of non-operational movement. After Vietnam the government re-assessed Australia’s involvement in international commitment, which reduced the size of the Army and saw the linking of 2/4 RAR, 5/7 RAR and 8/9 RAR. Deployments to Malaysia / Butterworth / Singapore continued with joint exercises with New Zealand and American forces in a series of “Kangaroo” Exercises.

New equipment was not available. The army had to make do with what ever was left over from the Vietnam period. This thinking and attitude continued into the 1980s when 1 RAR deployed with Vietnam weaponry and equipment. The army did however; receive the new Leopard tank and the Rapier air defence systems.

Aid to the civil community in the form of flood and bushfire assistance was common as were open days, which were designed to inform the public and encourage recruiting.

Lt Col P.N.B. White, MC, assumed command in January 1973 and the battalion provided the enemy for the 3 TF Exercise “Temple Tower”. The RSM was WO 1 D McGregor.

In 1973 a major change in the finances of the Defence Forces saw a pay rise and the introduction of accommodation and ration charges being introduced against all personnel living in barracks. Many soldiers moved into private homes / apartments. The attitude became more like a “9 to 5” job in a peacetime army and this had the effect of a less dedicated attitude to training and discipline.

In 1974 the battalion training involved exercise “Duty Hike”, which was conducted in north-west Qld and 1 RAR and a company of US Marines provided the enemy force on “Kangaroo 1”.

In Dec 74, Lt Col White handed over command to Lt Col K.A. Patterson. The RSM was WO 1 B H Cox MBE. In 1975, 1 RAR sent companies to Singapore, Canada and Hawaii and hosted companies from Britain, America and Singapore. The battalion was more heavily committed to ceremonial duties and in July 1976 the Governor-General, His Excellency The Honourable Sir John Kerr, AK, GCMC, KStK, presented the new colours.

Lt Col Patterson handed command to Lt Col I J C Hearn on 10th January 1977. The RSM was WO 1 K W Hergenhan. Physical fitness, military skills competitions (the Ulster Trophy, the Duke of Gloucester Cup, the Gurkha Trophy, the Queens Medal and others) and inter unit sports were emphasized.

On 17th December 1978, Lt Col Hearn handed over command to Lt Col P.W. Beale, DSO, MC. The RSM was WO 1 R J May. Some members of the battalion (18) were sent to Rhodesia in 1979 as part of Operation “Damon”, a commonwealth monitoring force. During this period the Operational Deployment Force (ODF) was raised. This put 1 RAR on a short notice to move to protect the Australian mainland or Australian nationals anywhere / anytime.

Lt Col Beale handed over command to Lt Col BJ Caligari on the 9th December 1980. 1980 saw the introduction of the Operation Deployment Force (ODF) concept. This concept placed the two Townsville based Battalions on a shortened notice to move and to be prepared to undertake service to assist/protect the evacuation of Australian Nationals where ever required.

Lt Col Beale

Lt Col Hodgkinson

Lt Col White conducting a briefing

Lt Col Hearn

Exercise TREBLE CHANGE – Papua New Guinea 1972 – Tim Freeborn

Officer’s Mess 1974

Officer’s Mess 1978

Officer’s Mess 1979

1 RAR Marksman Course, Singapore 1970

2 Pl, A Coy, 1 RAR 1975

1 RAR Component Operation DAMON Rhodesia Dec 1979-80

1 RAR Component Operation DAMON Rhodesia Dec 1979-80

Battalion Parade Townsville 1972