The Australian Army Apprentices Memorial
The Australian Army Apprentices Memorial, at the Memorial Park, Bandiana, Victoria 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. It may also be used as a resting place for their ashes: forever with their mates.
The Memorial was designed to incorporate many of the icons of Apprenticeship days so that visiting Apprentices can reminisce on their time at the Army Apprentices School and remember mates no longer with us. The walls and support columns represent the Apprentice-built US 1st Marine Division Memorial walls at Balcombe and are of the same design and colour and constructed in the same English bond brickwork. Each wall represents a School and the names BALCOMBE and BONEGILLA are at the top of their respective walls. Memorial plaques for departed Apprentices may be placed on the respective wall. The columns hold a plaque recognising the donors who helped to make the Memorial possible and the Memorial name.
The gates are copies of Apprentice-built “top” gates from Balcombe, which were relocated from Balcombe to Latchford Barracks. The Apprentices Memorial 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 the engraved pavers representing the thousands of Apprentices who spent hours on these parade grounds. In Army tradition, parade grounds are hallowed ground.
The flagpole at the centre of the Memorial was fabricated at and donated by the School of Military Engineering (SME) and supports the Australian or the 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 the dedication plaque represents a weapons pit to remind us that we were all Soldier Tradesmen. It also acts as a repository for the ashes of many Apprentices who wish their spirits to remain with their colleagues.
The Army 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 badge of the Army Logistic Training Centre (ALTC) 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 Memorial Wall silhouettes the gates and holds the names of Apprentices who lost their lives whist on overseas service.
The large boulder with engraved names of Apprentices who died on active service located at the front of the Memorial was originally part of the RAEME Memorial and was given by RAEME to the Association.
The dedication plaque reminds us all of our worth and for what the Memorial stands.
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.
Remembrance Plaques – a 200mm x 175mm cast bronze plaque provides an enduring opportunity for departed Apprentices to be remembered by visiting Apprentices, friends and relatives to the Memorial. It will be attached to either the Balcombe or Bonegilla wing walls abutting the gate support columns. It is an ideal memorial to any Apprentice who has their ashes scattered at the Memorial. Apprentices are advised to complete an order form, keep it with their will and advise their NOK of their wishes. Charges for fabrication, supply, fixing and a small service (if requested) are available on the Website.
Bronze Plaques – a 100mm x 150mm plaque provides for up to six lines of text, each with up to 16 characters. Plaques are ideal for individual, intake or trade memories requiring more text than pavers permit and are mounted on the sloping top of the side walls of the central pit which surrounds the flagpole and the badge.
Apprentices are advised to complete an order form available from www.austarmyapprentice.org.
Pavers – During construction of the Memorial, Members could purchase inscribed pavers. An invitation is now extended to all Apprentices and their families to avail themselves of this opportunity.
A single inscribed paver will accommodate up to 32 characters over two lines, similar to those already installed at the Memorial. The inscription is a matter of choice, as long as the letters fit. The cost for these is available on the Association Website.
Note that the double paver option is no longer available.
Enquiries should be directed to:
Memorial Chairman, PO Box 4091, Kogarah Bay NSW 2217
or by email to:
See the order forms and further information on the Australian Army Apprentices Association Website
Design and Construction
Based on the design and working drawings by Frank Poole (10th Intake Architectural Draughtsman), it was originally envisaged that the Memorial would be constructed partially by Apprentices, but this was abandoned for a number of reasons and 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 Apprentice badge sculpture by Ray Bertazzo, Bertazzo Engineering (34th Intake Fitter & Turner) and the flagpole 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.
Frank Poole (Chairman Memorial Sub-Committee, 10th Architectural Draughtsman)