Home' Army News : October 29th 2009 Contents 50 YEARS O
2 -- ARMY NEWSPAPER, OCTOBER 29, 2009
TIME OF GRE
The 1980s were a period of relative calm for the Australian Army between
1990s. But it was also a period of change that laid the foundation for the m
recruits at Kapooka, the complex British discipline system was replaced w
Diggers in southern Rhodesia
AUSTRALIAN soldiers are serving in the Southern Rhodesian
bushland as part of a 1300-strong Commonwealth force
monitoring a ceasefire leading up to that country's elections.
THE SASR has been authorised by the Government to form
a specialist team to deal with high-risk terrorist incidents
beyond the range of police capabilities. The regiment's move
into the counter-terrorist field has increased the need for
suitable manpower. So soldiers may now join the SASR and
retain their corps identity, without transferring to infantry.
THE Navy's newest ship -- the $46 million, 6000-tonne
Tobruk, launched only this month -- is to be manned by
a mixed Army and Navy crew. Tobruk is a heavy-lift ship
capable of carrying a squadron of Leopard tanks and 550
soldiers. The crew of 130 will include 15 soldiers.
ALL regular Army soldiers posted to field force units will
receive a field allowance at the rate of $270 a year as part
of a range of increases in work-related allowances.
Datsuns on the job
FUEL-saving four-cylinder cars and station wagons have
been introduced into the Army's transport fleet, to replace
some grade-three and grade-four vehicles. The Datsun
200Bs -- 137 sedans and 400 station wagons -- will mainly
replace six-cylinder vehicles.
Beret for those in-between occasions
ACTING chief of Personnel Brig W.P. Broderick has
announced wider use of the dark-blue beret to fill the gap
between the formality of the cap and slouch hat and the
informality of the bush hat. The move means that officers
and warrant officers of all corps are now entitled to wear
the beret appropriate to their corps.
New howitzers for RAA
AN agreement has been signed for the purchase of 36
medium artillery weapons (M198 155mm howitzer) from
the US. The guns, plus accessories and spare parts, will cost
approximately $16 million and are expected to enter service
in 1983. The howitzer will replace the 5.5inch guns used by
the Army since World War II.
Beginnings of ADFA
PRIME Minister Malcolm Fraser recently unveiled a plaque
to mark the beginning of construction of the $65-million
Australian Defence Force Academy. Mr Fraser said the serv-
ices must be able to operate together as a united ADF and
that officers' vision must extend beyond the traditions and
daily preoccupations of the single services.
Trials scheduled for combat dress
TENDERS will soon be called for the manufacture of 2000
disruptive-pattern uniforms for extensive user trials that
will help determine the Army's new combat uniform.
Accelerated wearer trials had recently been completed
at the Infantry Centre, Singleton. The two or three best
weights and blends of fabric would be selected.
Naturalise or civilianise
SOLDIERS who are not Australian citizens and are not pre-
pared to be naturalised will soon be heading back to Civvie
Street. Personnel Branch at Army Office has warned that,
from June 1, serving ARA members who are not citizens will
not be re-engaged after their period of service unless they
New rules on keeping fit
RESPONSIBILITY for maintaining a minimum standard of
fitness now rests with the individual soldier, regardless of
rank and employment within the Army. Medical restric-
tions and age are the only considerations to be taken into
account when assessing the standard of fitness required for
each soldier. A new chapter to the Manual of Army Training,
3-14, will detail the requirements now expected of soldiers.
Cash in an envelope
SOLDIERS will have noticed a difference in the pay parade
-- the time-saving system of cash-enveloping individual pay
is now in operation throughout the Army.
Forces off to Sinai
AUSTRALIA will send troops to the Sinai as part of the US-
sponsored peacekeeping force. Prime Minister Malcolm
Fraser said Australia's commitment would be consistent with
an air transport unit of between 200 and 300 personnel.
New military law
A NEW Defence Force Discipline Bill recently introduced to
Parliament will for the first time bring the three services
under the one disciplinary law act. The Bill will replace the
outmoded, complex British legislation applying to the serv-
ices. It revises and updates laws relating to some offences,
and introduces some new offences relating to vehicles and
First female cadets
THE Australian Services' Cadet Scheme has been expanded
to permit the entry of female cadets. While each cadet unit
will be responsible for the discipline, moral welfare and
physical wellbeing of its cadets, the services will arrange
separate accommodation and ablution facilities for annual
camps. Visits by girls to ships will be limited to days only.
Pioneering seaman ... er, seaperson?
Werris Creek mother-of-two Joyce Hollier, a corporal in 75
Water Tpt Tp, at Woolwich, recently became the first Army
Reserve female qualified to skipper landing craft, tugs and
work-boats. She is a Seaman Grade Two but fellow soldiers
are wondering whether or not she should be a seaperson.
Tough line on fitness
TOUGH, coercive measures have been introduced to ensure
able soldiers reach and maintain a base level of physi-
cal fitness. Armed with a new annex to Army Office Staff
Instruction 21/81, commanding officers are empowered to
decide if a soldier is rendering unsatisfactory service based
on his or her attitude and performance in physical training
Former editor Richard Crothers recalls
his role at a time of great change at the
newspaper in the 1980s.
IWALKED into Army newspaper in January 1986 as a new sub-
editor full of ideas as to what a newspaper for soldiers should
be all about.
Army Newspaper Unit was located at Northbourne House in
Canberra and was set up in such a way that little had changed in its
working practice since it had been established by its first editor, Hal
This was a time of change. It was the dawning of the age of the
desktop computer and computers changed the way we worked.
In early 1988 the Defence Department rapidly began to replace
typewriters with DOS-driven computers.
Army newspaper received several hybrid typewriter/computers
from which data was stored on a large floppy disk.
This meant that copy could be edited and altered several times
before the disk was sent to the printer for direct transfer to the com-
positors' machines, eliminating much of the repetitious typing of
In 1987 I was promoted to major and took over the editorship of
Previously, when reporters were tasked with collecting informa-
tion for a story, a Defence photographer would accompany them to
produce the necessary pictures to support the story.
However, the cost of sending two people on one job became
prohibitive in a cost-cutting environment and reporters subsequently
took on a new role, becoming photo-journalists. Army newspaper
again readjusted and each reporter was provided with professional-
quality photographic equipment.
This new role was in place by Exercise Kangaroo '89, staged in
northern Queensland. The general in charge contacted me suggesting
that a newspaper be produced in the field for timely distribution to
Before long, we had partnered with Australian Associated Press
and the Townsville Bulletin to produce a bi-weekly newspaper that
published national and international news as well as Army stories
emanating from Canberra and from our reporters in the field.
When a front-page story reported that an Australian mother and
son convicted of drug trafficking in Malaysia had avoided the hang-
man's noose, I was hauled over the coals by the general.
"Soldiers don't need to know that kind of stuff," he said.
While reporters were working hard on Kangaroo '89, in Canberra
the rest of the team produced the first Army Magazine, initially
intended as a supplement to be inserted in the newspaper.
It was a huge success, although the very first batch displayed the
cover photograph in reverse, apparently showing a left-handed soldier
with a left-handed Steyr.
At the request of the printing house's newsagent distribution
branch, the first Army Magazine was reprinted (this time with the
cover photo the right way around) and put on sale for the public.
It was a financial success for newsagents and for the Army
Amenities Fund, which collected the profits to benefit soldiers.
The magazine continued for many more editions and in November
1989 I was awarded a Commendation by the Chief of the General
Staff which said in part, "As a result of your dedication and enthusi-
asm the financial management of Army -- The Soldiers' Newspaper
has been improved to such an extent that it is no longer a drain on
I look back on my time at Army with fondness and pride and will
always cherish the memories of working with a diverse bunch of
misfits who were always dedicated to the task of producing quality
stories and photographs for an outstanding publication.
The team: The newspaper editorial pause for a unit photograph
in the 1980s -- Sgt Lindsay Yelland (rear left), Sgt Darryl
Gallagher, Cpl Phil Mayne, Capt Brian Swift, (front left), Maj
Richard Crothers and WO2 Eric Combe.
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