THE BATTALION MASCOT
The Commanding Officer of 1 RAR in July 1951 was Lt Col I B Ferguson DSO, MC and in the Battalion Diary of August 1951 he noted the unit needed a mascot to help raise the esprit-de-corps of the men. He opted for the purchase or presentation of a Shetland pony. After some behind the scenes discussions, a pony was presented to the Battalion on the 6th Birthday Parade. A competition was held to name the mascot with a prize of three pounds ($6.00 – a lot of money in 1951) to the winner. Captain East won the money and the name “Septimus” continues to this day.
SEPTIMUS and CO 1 RAR Lt Col BRUMFIELD 1965
The first mascot of the 1st Battalion Royal Australian Regiment was a black Shetland stallion named Septimus. The name came from an historical link with the 7th Division of WW2. He was enlisted into the battalion in 1951 at the age of four years and was presented by his owner, Mr. J. Abrahams of Camden Park Stud, New South Wales.
Septimus enjoyed a colourful career until his death in April 1967. As with any other member of the Army, Septimus had his records maintained by Central Army Records Office in Melbourne. These records are now held by the unit museum. His conduct sheet was marred by at least three charges and further unrecorded offences including the attempted biting of Sir John Lavarack, the Governor of Queensland in 1953. He was known for his indifference to disclipine and was confined to barracks several times for being AWOL and kicking a superior officer. Septimus was a corporal group 5½ and his regimental number was H201. As a part of his regimental duties he met the H M Queen, Prince Philip, Princess Marina, Governor Generals, Governors and countless Heads of State. He was buried at the Hawksbury Agricultural College.
(Septimus was a typical soldier who was known to celebrate on payday with a few cold beers and had a love of pies with tomato sauce)
The Army newspaper records the last parade by 1 RAR in May 1965 at Gallipoli Barracks Holsworthy, before leaving for South Viet Nam. The Colours are being marched off to be laid up at 2BOD Moorebank until the Battalion returns.
The unit mascot, Septimus is also being marched out to the Hawkesbury Agricultural College until the Battalion returns.
Septimus Secundus and Handler Cpl Jock Stein
The second unit mascot was a white Shetland stallion, Septimus Secundus, regimental number H202 and was presented to 1 RAR on the 12th October 1967 by Mr. Abrahams. When the battalion was serving overseas in South Viet Nam, Malaysia and Singapore he was quartered at the Hawkesbury Agricultural College. He was marched back into the battalion at Townsville on the 20th September 1971. The second mascot had a conduct record similar to his predecessor in that he was also known to be indifferent to discipline. However he quickly became a favourite in the battalion and stood out in the local shows winning many awards and champion ribbons.
He died in a vehicle accident when returning from the Ayr show on 1st July 1977 and was buried near the flag pole in 1 RAR lines.
Funeral Party for Septimus Secundus
Septimus Tertius was a grey Shetland stallion and with the generous assistance of Mr. Abrahams, was purchased from Mr. M Roper’s stud at Toowoomba on the Darling Downs, Queensland in August 1977. He was enlisted into the Army on 16th August 1977 with the regimental number MA0089D. He was promoted to L/Cpl on the Coral Day Parade 1979 by the CGS Lieutenant General D. B. Dunstan CB, CBE.
Septimus Tertius also competed in the local shows and had many awards to his credit. He was promoted to Cpl on 4th June 1982 and received his new rank from Colonel R. H. Marson DSO, ED (Rtd), the first Commanding Officer of the battalion on the 12th October 1982 (1RAR’s 37th birthday).
He was promoted Sgt 16th October 1993 and was awarded the “Student of Merit” for his outstanding effort on the courseby the GOC 1st Division, Major General Peter Arnison AO during the battalion’s 47th Birthday Parade.
Septimus Tertius lost the sight in his right eye in 1991 after developing an infection and formally retired after 16 years of service.
Septimus Quartus was enlisted into the army with the regimental number MA394 and replaced his father as the battalion mascot. He was generously donated by the Everdale Park Stud of Mareeba and marched into 1 RAR on the 12th May 1993. Like his forbears he has won honours in many of the local and regional shows and has been known to win harness races under the alias of “Drop Dead Gorgeous”. He has qualified for promotion to Cpl by completing the required courses, which included a parra course. This was successfully completed by correspondence. The required three jumps were completed over the Christmas break 1994-95. (10th and 11th Dec – 11th Feb)
Septimus was awarded his Crossed Rifle Badge for demonstrating his proficiency in War Horse drill