INGLEBURN TRAINING AREA
1st Infantry Battalion, The East Sydney Regiment 1930’s training at Liverpool / Casula
The Ingleburn area was part of a grant to James Meeham by Governor Macquarie in 1816 and was referred to as “Macquarie Fields”. This land changed hands several times with a portion being purchased by James Ashcroft then Alexander Ross in 1904 and finally by Fred Moore in 1927. The land was used for farming with small villages being formed locally. (Ingleburn – Macquarie Fields – Cross Roads)
The area of what became known as the “Ingleburn Army Camp” was used to train recruits from 1939 (WW2) and was formally acquired by the government in 1940. The need for training areas larger than at Liverpool and Randwick meant that a great expansion was required in a short period of time. The 2/1st – 2/2nd – 2/3rd Infantry Battalions were trained and formed the 16th Brigade of the 6th Division AIF among many other units. The men of the 16th Brigade were the first to see action in WW2 when as part of the 6th Division they attacked and over whelmed the enemy at Bardia in North Africa.
PHOTOS SOURCE – NSW LIBRARY.
Training for World War 2
Thousands of recruits were trained between the years 1939 – 1945. This meant the construction of over 300 buildings including workshops, a military hospital, barracks, messes and canteens. The First Field Hospital was also established with smaller medical units along side to combine the training required. The huts were in the main long wooden buildings with small windows and iron roofs, which were freezing in the winter and boiling hot in the summer.
The main parade ground was named the Mont St Quentin Parade Ground after the battle of the same name in WW1. This ground became an official farewell and welcome home ground as well the demobilising point for the troops of the 6th Division.
From 1946 training was scaled down as the AIF was demobbed. Activity centred round the CMF (Army Reserve) with some special training by the Signal Corps, Transport units, RAEME and Medical units. With the outbreak of hostilities in Korea, Ingleburn again became a major training depot for infantry units. The training unit was 4 RAR (Depot Company) where reinforcements were trained and sent to battalions. This was known as “K” Force.
Training for the Korean War 1950 – 1951
1 RAR on parade before leaving for Korea, February 1952
1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR) was stationed at Ingleburn from 1948 to 1952 when it left for service in Korea. 3 RAR returned from Korea in 1955 and for a short time concentrated in the Ingleburn Camp until moving to Holsworthy.
Simulated Atomic Test Training 1955
Housing for married personnel was established in 1952-1955 as the defence establishment expanded. The government reintroduced compulsory National Service, which demanded more of the training staff and the local community. A larger canteen, more sports grounds and multi denominations chapels were constructed. National Service, Korea and Malaya were the focal points during the 1950’s and into the 1960’s.
C Coy 13th National Service 1959
This is the badge from 4 RAR (Depot Coy), which was moved across to the Infantry Centre in 1960 where it was placed outside the Depot Coy Q store until 1973. The badge has been mounted and is now on display at the Wangi Wangi RSL Club.
The Infantry Corps conducted their promotion and skills courses in this school setting and in 1960 the Infantry Centre (School of Infantry) was established in Bardia Barracks (So named after the battle of Bardia by the 6th Division). This unit existed until 1st October 1973 when it was moved to the Singleton “Lone Pine Barracks”. The Infantry Centre conducted basic training in Depot Company (Battle Wing) and promotion and skill courses for all infantry training. This was a time of confrontation in the form of protesters against conscription for the war in Viet Nam. The guardhouse at the front gate often had to close the camp with the help of the Military Police and the local police force.
The 1st Signal Regiment moved into the area in 1960 and 101st Field Workshop followed. The military hospital was caring for troops wounded in the Vietnam War. The Military Police had established a new military jail (Holsworthy had closed). The National Service Act was repealed in 1972 by the new Labor government and the training of the Army Reserve (Ares) was concentrated in Ingleburn. The 1/19th Battalion RNSWR was based in Mt Olympus Lines before moving to Orange in central NSW.
Units were moved out of the area as other military bases were developed so by the 1990’s the camp was a shell of former days and was sold to developers in 2000. The front gates of Bardia Barracks have been retained with several buildings as a reminder of the units and men and women who passed through them. They are a symbol and a visual memorial.