Portal:Military of Australia

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The Military of Australia Portal

The RAN Ensign
The flag of Australia
The RAAF Ensign

The Military of Australia, officially known as the Australian Defence Force (ADF) since 1976, consists of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). The Australian Department of Defence administers the Australian Defence Organisation (ADO) which consists of the ADF and the civilian personnel supporting the ADF. Approximately 53,000 men and women serve in the ADF with another 21,600 serving in the three reserve components.

The ADF is constituted under the Executive Government sections of the Australian Constitution, Section 68, that says, "The command in chief of the naval and military forces of the Commonwealth is vested in the Governor-General as the Queen's representative." In practice, the control of the ADF is, politically, vested in the Minister for Defence and several subordinate ministers. The Minister acts on most matters alone, however, important matters are considered by the National Security Committee of Cabinet. The Minister then advises the Governor-General who acts as advised in the normal form of executive government. The current Chief of the Australian Defence Force is General David Hurley.

The Military history of Australia covers a period of around 200 years starting with the colonisation of Australia by the British in 1788. Australians have fought in nearly every major war of the 20th Century including the Second Boer War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War as well as numerous UN peace-keeping missions.

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HMAS Canberra sailing into Sydney Harbour in 1930.jpg

The History of the Royal Australian Navy can be traced back to 1788 and the colonisation of Australia by the British. During this period until 1859 vessels of the Royal Navy made frequent trips to the new colonies. In 1859 the Australia Squadron was formed as a separate squadron and remained in Australia until 1913. During the period before Federation each of the 6 Australian colonies operated their own colonial naval force, these amalgamated in 1901 as the Commonwealth Naval Force. The Royal Australian Navy was established in 1911 and in 1913 the fleet steamed through Sydney Heads for the first time.The Royal Australian Navy has seen action in every ocean of the world during its short life. Seeing action in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and countless smaller conflicts. Today the RAN fields a small but modern force, widely regarded as one of the most powerful forces in the Asia Pacific Region.

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"Fellow Australians

It is my melancholy duty to inform you officially that, in persistence by Germany in her invasion of Poland, Great Britain is at war, and that, as a result, Australia is also at war...

There was never any doubt as to where Great Britain stood... There can be no doubt that were Great Britain stands, there stands the people of the entire British world."

Prime Minister Robert Menzies

Selected anniversaries

September 23

Did you know...

AV2767 Crusader in 1945

New articles


  • 8 November, 2010 - The Spitfire flown by and remains of Flight Lieutenant Henry Lacy Smith have been found in Normandy. He was killed after being shot down five days after D-Day during World War II.Read more...
  • 16 March, 2010 - The remains of Special Air Service Patrolman Lieutenant Kenneth Hudson and Private Robert Moncrieff have been found after been missing in action since 1966 during the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation.Read more...
  • 18 February, 2010 - AN Australian Defence Force inquiry has backed navy seamen who saved their colleagues before asylum seekers when a boat exploded near Ashmore Reef last year. Read more...
  • 13 February, 2010 - Japan, Australia To Sign Military Logistics Pact-Nikkei. Read more...
  • 30 July, 2009 - The remains of Flying Officer Michael Herbert and Pilot Officer Robert Carver, missing in action (MIA) in Vietnam have been found. They were the last Australian MIA in Vietnam. Read more...
  • 16 January, 2009 - Trooper Mark Donaldson is awarded the Victoria Cross for Australia following his actions in Afghanistan on 2 September 2008. Read more...

Selected biography

Carl jess.jpg

Lieutenant General Sir Carl Herman Jess CB, CMG, CBE, DSO (16 February 1884 – 16 June 1948) was an Australian Army officer who served in both World War I and World War II. Jess was born in Bendigo and started his military career in 1899 when he joined the First Victorian Volunteer Cadets. During World War I, he served at Gallipoli and on the Western Front, reaching the rank of brigadier. Jess saw no action in World War II, although he commanded the 6th Division for a short period but was replaced by General Blamey. He became Director of Women's National Services in 1943 and organised the Women's Land Army. He died at the Heidelberg Repatriation Hospital in Melbourne on 16 June 1948 and was cremated with full military honours.

Daily unit

18 sqn (AWM P01818.011).jpg

No. 18 (Netherlands East Indies) Squadron was a joint Dutch and Australian bomber squadron of World War II.No. 18 (NEI) Squadron was formed at Canberra on 4 April 1942. Like the other two joint Australian-Dutch squadrons the Dutch authorities provided No. 18 Squadron's pilots and aircraft (obtained via Lend Lease) while most the groundcrew were Australian. Unlike the other two squadrons, however, the RAAF also provided many aircrew to the squadron. Originally No. 18 (NEI) Squadron flew both B-25 Mitchell medium bombers and A-20 Havoc. The RAAF component of No. 18 (NEI) Squadron was disbanded on 25 November 1945 and the Squadron passed to Dutch control on 15 January 1946.

Selected equipment

Dingo (AWM 027537).jpg

The Dingo Scout Car was a light armoured car built in Australia during the Second World War. They were produced by the Ford motor company during 1942. The Dingo was based on a commercial Ford 30-cwt 134.5 inch wheelbase chassis shortened to 110 inches, fitted with a Marmon-Herrington all wheel drive kit to give the vehicle 4 wheel drive. The Dingo was equipped with a Bren light machine gun and Mk19 wireless. The vehicle's weight restricted its off road mobility and the front axle could be bent when travelling over rough terrain. A lighter version with only 10 mm of armour and an open top was proposed at the end of 1942 but not proceeded with as armoured cars could now be imported from overseas. All 245 vehicles produced were disposed of in 1945.


Major topics

Army • History
Armoured Units, Army Aviation, First Australian Imperial Force, Second Australian Imperial Force, Brigades, Cadets, College, Enlisted Ranks, Memorial, Officer Ranks, RAR, Regiments, Senior Officers, Regional Surveillance Units, Structure, VC Recipients, Weapons

RAAF • History
Aircraft, Airfield Defence Guards, Bases, Chief of Air Force, Flights, First Tactical Air Force, Ranks, Roulettes, Squadrons, Structure

RAN • History
Admiral of the Fleet, Bases, Cadets, Clearance Divers, Current Ships, Fleet Air Arm, Future, Historic ships, HMAS, Memorial, Patrol Boat Group, Persian Gulf Operations, RANVR, Reserve, Ship classes, Silent Service, WRANS

Special Forces
1st Commando Regiment, 171st Squadron, 200 Squadron, 4 RAR, Coastwatchers, Incident Response Regiment, SASR, SOCOMD, Tactical Assault Group, WWII Companies, Z Special Unit

Featured, A-Class and Good content

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Featured articles: Admiralty Islands campaignAdrian Cole (RAAF officer)AHS CentaurAlan McNicollAlexander PentlandAlister MurdochArthur Henry CobbyAttack on Sydney HarbourAustralian contribution to the Battle of NormandyAustralian Defence ForceAxis naval activity in Australian watersBattle of AraweBattle of Arras (1917)Battle of BardiaBattle of the Bismarck SeaBattle of Cape EsperanceBattle of GreeceBattle of Milne BayBattle of KaiapitBattle of MorotaiBattle of Rennell IslandBattle of Savo IslandBattle of SioBattle of TassafarongaBattle of Tulagi and Gavutu-TanambogoBattle of the Eastern SolomonsBlack Friday (1945)Blair Anderson WarkBrian EatonBruce KingsburyCedric HowellCharles Eaton (RAAF officer)Colin HannahConvoy GP55David Evans (RAAF officer)Edgar TownerEdmund HerringEllis WackettFrank BerrymanFrank BladinFrank Hubert McNamaraFrederick SchergerGeorge Jones (RAAF officer)Guadalcanal CampaignHarry ChauvelHarry MurrayHector WallerHenry Wells (general)Henry WrigleyHMAS Melbourne (R21)Ian Dougald McLachlanInvasion of Tulagi (May 1942)Issy SmithIven MackayJames NewlandJames Rowland (RAAF officer)James Whiteside McCayJerry PentlandJoe Hewitt (RAAF officer)John BalmerJohn Francis JacksonJohn LerewJohn Lloyd WaddyJohn McCauleyJohn Treloar (museum administrator)John WhittleLanding at NadzabLester BrainList of Australian George Cross recipientsList of Australian Victoria Cross recipientsLockheed C-130 Hercules in Australian serviceMcDonnell Douglas A-4G SkyhawkMcDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet in Australian serviceMcDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II in Australian serviceMichael WoodruffMilitary history of Australia during World War IIMorotai MutinyNaval Battle of GuadalcanalNeil Hamilton FairleyNicky BarrNo. 1 Wing RAAFNo. 79 Squadron RAAFOperation KitaOswald WattOtto BecherPeter Jeffrey (RAAF officer)Raymond BrownellReg SaundersRichard Williams (RAAF officer)Roderic DallasRoy DowlingSingapore strategyShrine of RemembranceStanley GobleStanley SavigeThomas Baker (aviator)Thomas BlameyTom DerrickValston HancockVictoria Cross for AustraliaWalter PeelerWilliam BostockWilliam BrillWilliam Ellis Newton

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A Class: 2/18th Battalion (Australia)Admiralty Islands campaignAir Combat Group RAAFAlan CharlesworthAllan WaltersAustralian Army during World War IIAustralian light destroyer projectBattle of Bita PakaBattle of KaiapitBattle of KapyongBattle of Slater's KnollBattle of WauBoeing C-17 Globemaster III in Australian serviceCentral Flying School RAAFClare StevensonClarence Smith JeffriesEric Harrison (RAAF officer)First Battle of Maryang SanFrank BerrymanFrank BladinFrank LukisGeorge Alan VaseyGeorge Julian HowellGeorge IngramGeorge MackinoltyBattle of Goodenough IslandHenry Burrell (RAN officer)Henry PetreHenry WrigleyHippolyte De La RueHorace RobertsonJohn NorthcottJoseph MaxwellLanding at SaidorLeslie MorsheadLewis McGeeNo. 1 Wing RAAFNo. 78 Wing RAAFNo. 81 Wing RAAFNo. 82 Wing RAAFNo. 84 Wing RAAFNo. 86 Wing RAAFOperation BrevityOperation CoburgOperation CrimpOrdnance QF 25-pounder ShortPercy Herbert CherryPercy StattonRoy BurstonRupert DownesSamuel BurstonSouth West Pacific Area (command)Sydney RowellTeddy SheeanTet OffensiveVernon SturdeeWilfred ArthurWilliam Anderson (RAAF officer)William HelyWilliam McAloney

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Good articles: 1940 Brocklesby mid-air collision12th Light Horse Regiment (Australia)14th/32nd Battalion (Australia)1st Armoured Regiment (Australia)1st Parachute Battalion (Australia)2/14th Battalion (Australia)2/18th Battalion (Australia)2/31st Battalion (Australia)2/48th Battalion (Australia)2/9th Battalion (Australia)23rd Battalion (Australia)27th Battalion (Australia)29th Battalion (Australia)2nd Battalion (Australia)31st/51st Battalion (Australia)3rd Division (Australia)6th Battalion (Australia)61st Battalion (Australia)7th Battalion (Australia)Arthur William MurphyAustralian Army ReserveAustralian Army ship Crusader (AV 2767)Battle of AmiensBattle of Chongju (1950)Battle of Coral–BalmoralBattle of FranceBattle of Gang ToiBattle of the Hongorai RiverBattle of KranjiBattle of KujinBattle of Lone PineBattle of Long KhanhBattle of PakchonBattle of Porton PlantationBattle of the Samichon RiverBattle of SattelbergBattle of Sungei KoembaBattle of Suoi Bong TrangBattle of Suoi Chau PhaBattle of YongjuBobby GibbesBritish nuclear tests at MaralingaCharles CrombieCharles Read (RAAF officer)Charles ScherfDave ShannonDemobilisation of the Australian military after World War IIElwyn KingErnest Albert CoreyFrederick BirksGeneral Dynamics F-111CGerman attacks on NauruGordon SteegeHistory of the Royal Australian NavyHMAS Sydney (1934)Hobart coastal defencesHughie EdwardsHuon Peninsula campaignJohn Hines (Australian soldier)Len WatersLes ClisbyLes HoldenLeslie Douglas JacksonLockheed C-130 Hercules in Australian serviceMary Bell (aviator)Military history of AustraliaMilitary history of Australia during World War INeville McNamaraNigel CullenNo. 1 Aircraft Depot RAAFNo. 1 Basic Flying Training School RAAFNo. 1 Flying Training School RAAFNo. 1 Long Range Flight RAAFNo. 1 Operational Conversion Unit RAAFNo. 2 Service Flying Training School RAAFNo. 36 Squadron RAAFNo. 38 Squadron RAAFNo. 457 Squadron RAAFNo. 5 Airfield Construction Squadron RAAFNo. 6 Squadron RAAFNo. 71 Wing RAAFNo. 72 Wing RAAFNo. 73 Wing RAAFNo. 75 Squadron RAAFNo. 76 Wing RAAFNo. 77 Wing RAAFNo. 78 Squadron RAAFNo. 79 Wing RAAFNo. 8 Service Flying Training School RAAFNo. 80 Wing RAAFNo. 90 Wing RAAFOperation BribiePeter IsaacsonPeter RawPeter Roy Maxwell DrummondPeter Turnbull (RAAF officer)Richard MinifieRobert A. LittleRoy PhillippsRussell FoskettSecond Battle of PasschendaeleSelarang Barracks IncidentStuart Clarence GrahamVirgil BrennanWilfrid Kent HughesAustralian contribution to the Allied Intervention in Russia 1918–1919


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