Customs and Traditions

The Green Puggaree

The green puggaree was first worn by 1 RAR during the Malayan Emergency in 1959-60. The Australian Army was unable to supply 1RAR with new puggarees so a local tailor (Mr. Mohavved Beseek) was commissioned by the unit to supply them made from the same soft green material as the British Forces green shirts. The CO, LtCol Bill Morrow decided that for the sake of uniformity, the green pugaree was to be worn by all members of the battalion. These puggarees became a symbol of 1RAR and are worn by the battalion to this day.

Shovel Drill

In March 1953 at Camp Casey in Korea, at a farewell to troops returning to Australia, the Commanding Officer LtCol M. Austin, DSO commented on how sloppy he considered the rifle drill. He then proceeded to demonstrate to the acting RSM W02 L.E. Brennen how the movements were supposed to be performed. The Commanding Officer used a shovel for the demonstration. There was certain disagreement between the two on how the drill should be performed so the two adjourned to the Sgt’s Mess where the CO was drilled by the acting RSM before the mess members in a variety of drill movements.

On the completion of his drill, LTCOL Austin decreed the shovel be packed and returned to Australia and was to be held in the SGT’s Mess. It was to be used upon the first visit to the SGT’s Mess by the incoming Commanding Officer. The actual drilling of the CO is carried out by the junior CSM and on completion the CO’s name is inscribed on the handle of the shovel.

Lieutenant Colonel G B Combes, Commanding Officer of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR), carries out rifle exercises to the commands of Company Sergeant Major (CSM), Warrant Officer Class 2 (WO2) William John (Bill) McIvor of Sydney, NSW, in the now traditional ‘Shovel Ceremony’ in the battalion’s Sergeants’ Mess in Korea. 1955

Lt Col Beale, DSO, MC – Shovel Drill – 1979

WO2 T Wass conducting the Shovel Drill with Lt Col Beale, DSO, MC – 1979

Shovel Drill – Colonel Dunstan