Skills creation - the wealth of a Nation

Balcombe 1948 - 1982

Bonegilla 1982 - 1995

The Australian Army Apprentices Memorial

Background

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.

Significant Elements

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) and Army School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (ASEME) 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.

Pavers and Plaques

Refer to the Pavers and Plaques page for details on Remembrance Plaques, Bronze Plaques and Pavers.

Enquiries should be directed to: 

AAAA Secretary, PO Box 374, Northbridge  NSW 2063

or by email to: secretary@austarmyapprentice.org

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.

Prepared by Frank Poole (Chairman Memorial Sub-Committee, 10th Architectural Draughtsman) October 2014.