First Australian Army

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First Army
Active 1942–46
Country  Australia
Branch Australian Army
Engagements World War II
John Lavarack
Vernon Sturdee
Horace Robertson
Unit Colour Patch Australian First Army Unit Colour Patch.PNG

The HQ of the First Australian Army of World War II was formed at Toowoomba on 15 April 1942 from the former HQ 1 Aust CORPS (AIF).[1]

HQ First Army controlled 5 Infantry Division in Townsville, the new 1 Aust Corps (ex HQ Southern Command) defending South Queensland and 2 Aust Corps ( ex HQ Eastern Command) defending New South Wales.

When 1 Aust Corps was sent to New Guinea in August 1942 and became known as New Guinea Force, 2 Aust Corps moved to South Queensland, and New South Wales came under HQ Second Aust Army.

During the rest of 1942 and early 1943 the units under command varied, and by August 1943, they controlled 11th Brigade at Merauke (Dutch New Guinea), Torres Strait Force at Thursday Island, 4 Infantry Division at Townsville, 3 Armoured Division at Murgon, and 2 Aust Corps on the Atherton Tableland.[2]

In May 1944, HQ First Aust Army moved to Mareeba to prepare for a more active role. In October 1944 they moved under Lieutenant General Vernon Sturdee, to Lae in the Australian territory of New Guinea.[3] Here they controlled 2 Aust Corps at Bougainville Infantry Division on New Britain, 6 Infantry division at Aitape and 8 Infantry Brigade at Madang. Fighting continued in all of these areas until the Japanese surrender.

The HQ First Aust Army was disbanded in March 1946.


  1. ^ Wigmore, Lionel; Australian War Memorial (1957), The Japanese thrust, Australian War Memorial, retrieved 21 February 2014  page 25 referring to this
  2. ^ Wigmore p. 280
  3. ^ Long, Gavin; Australian War Memorial (1963), The final campaigns, Australian War Memorial, retrieved 21 February 2014