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Value Home Loan
Army July 19, 2012
on language capability
Cpl Mark Doran
'LANGUAGES are a fundamental ena-
bler for Defence operations and busi-
ness," CO Defence Force School of
Languages Lt-Col Giles Gorman said
when asked about the importance of
learning foreign languages.
The teaching of foreign languages
to members of the ADF began in
1944 when the need was identified
to train translators and interpreters in
Japanese to operate in the Southwest
Pacific theatre during World War II.
Initially conducted at Sydney
University, training continued there
until 1945, when the school now col-
loquially known as "Langs" moved to
Point Cook in Victoria.
The Japanese language program
continued until 1948, when the school
closed temporarily, then reopened in
1950 under the command of Flt-Lt
Flt-Lt Garrick presided over the
school's transition from its status in
1950 as a part of the RAAF Training
Directorate to a fully independent unit
of the Air Force, named RAAF School
of Languages in early 1952.
Flt-Lt Garrick remains the school's
longest-serving CO, eventually retiring
from the post in 1968 as a wing com-
The languages taught by the
school have always been a reflection
of Defence's requirements, hence in
1950 during the Cold War, and with
the prospect of war on the Korean
Peninsula, Chinese and Russian lan-
guages were added to the curriculum.
With heightened tension between
Australia and Indonesia in the mid-
1950s, Indonesian was introduced
in 1956 and training in Vietnamese
began in 1961.
Training in French began the
following year after the Air Force
purchased the Mirage from France
and Khmer was introduced in 1989
when Australia committed troops to
the UN peace-keeping operations in
On February 1, 1993, the
school became the ADF School of
In 1994, the language training func-
tion was tested by commercial tender
under the Federal Government's
Commercial Support Program.
The in-house option submitted by
the school was accepted and imple-
mented on July 1, 1995.
The school maintains the capability
to provide training in Arabic, Chinese,
Dari, Farsi, Fijian, Filipino, French,
German, Khmer, Korean, Indonesian,
Japanese, Javanese, Malay, Solomon
Islands Pidgin and Bislama (Vanuatu),
Pashto, Portuguese, Thai, Tetum, Tok
Pisin (PNG), Urdu and Vietnamese.
Moving to its current location at
Laverton in December 1999, the
school is now known as the Defence
Force School of Languages (DFSL).
DFSL transferred from Air Force
to Army command in 2008 and is now
under VCDF Group.
HISTORY OF AN EDUCATION LEADER
Making the change: Pte Anthony Jenkins (left) receives the new ADF School of Languages shoulder patch from
CO Lt-Col Giles Gorman at the school's transfer from Army to VCDF Group. Inset, the new shoulder patch worn
by ADF personnel posted to the School of Languages.
Photos by Sqn-Ldr James Allen
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