Sunday History Photo / Vic

Puckapunyal (more formally the Puckapunyal Military Area, but also known as the Puckapunyal Camp or Puckapunyal Army Base, and colloquially as "Pucka") is an Australian Army training facility and base 10 km west of Seymour, in central Victoria, south-eastern Australia.
Puckapunyal is a small restricted-access town inhabited mainly by about 280 families of the Australian Defence Force community, with an associated area of about 400 km2 of bushland and former pasture used for field training exercises. It is home to the Australian Army's School of Armour, the School of Artillery, and the School of Transport and Ordnance, along with the Combined Arms Training and Development Centre, the Joint Logistics Unit, and two transport squadrons. The Royal Australian Armoured Corps Memorial and Army Tank Museum is on the base's grounds, and the facilities are used by the Victorian Australian Army Cadets Brigade.





Apart from the military education and training venues, most accommodation consists of single-storey brick houses with backyards. It contains a primary school, shops, a variety of sporting facilities and a theatre.
The area was first used as a mobilisation and training area during World War I. During the early 1920s, an ordnance store and rifle range were built on the site. In 1939, the area was formally established as Puckapunyal Camp, the name was taken from the Aboriginal name for a large hill within the training area. The base was used to train the Second Australian Imperial Force, as other Army establishments were at capacity training Militia units. The original site was too small for wartime training, and an additional 5,700 hectares (14,000 acres) were acquired. As well as Australian units, the United States Army's 41st Infantry Division trained at Puckapunyal.
In 1949, the 1st Armoured Regiment was raised at Puckapunyal. The regiment remained based at Puckapunyal until it relocated to Darwin in June 1995.
During the 1950s, Puckapunyal was host to the 3rd National Service Training Brigade. During the Vietnam War, national servicemen conscripted under the National Service Act 1964 outside of Queensland and New South Wales were sent to Puckapunyal (soldiers from these states trained at Kapooka or Singleton). They were trained by the 2nd Recruit Training Battalion, with up to 4,000 soldiers at Puckapunyal at any given time.
In the 1980s, the Army undertook a land rehabilitation program, as decades of heavy use had caused major land degradation. By 1988, subsequent land acquisitions had increased the training area to 39,290 hectares (97,100 acres).





The National Service barracks were transferred to the Third Training Group in the 1980s to provide recruit and promotion training for General Reserve soldiers and also promotion training for Reserve Officers attending the Reserve Command and Staff College. This continued until the closure of the Training Group in June 2000.
During 1999 and 2000, some 1000 citizens from Kosovo were housed in the Training Group barracks as part of a temporary protection program in support of the NATO activity in the province. They returned to Kosovo once the situation there had stabilized.
The Puckapunyal Military Area (PMA) experiences cool to cold winters, when most of the average annual rainfall of 596 mm occurs, and dry, warm to hot, summers. The site is characterised by a series of rocky hills and ridges trending north to south, with the highest parts around Mount Puckapunyal (413 m) and Mount Kappe (384 m). The soils are mainly duplex, having low natural fertility and water holding capacity, with smaller areas of deep alluvium. Surface drainage is oriented towards the north and north east, with surface runoff flowing into the Goulburn River. All streams in the PMA are seasonal.
The RAAC Memorial and Army Tank Museum now has more than 70 Armoured Fighting Vehicles on display in Hopkins Barracks, the home of Australian Armour at Puckapunyal, Victoria. Covering an area of over 4000 square metres the museum is one of the largest armour museums in the Southern hemisphere.
Army History Unit is a direct command unit of Army Headquarters (AHQ), under the control, for administration purposes, of the Chief of Staff AHQ. As a sub unit of the Army History Unit, our mission is to preserve, exhibit and interpret armoured vehicles, artefacts, icons and memorabilia in order to promote and commemorate Australia's Light Horse and Armoured heritage. With this in mind we have more than just vehicles on display; we have two unique halls devoted to the history, people and technology associated with the Light Horse and the modern armoured corps.




Australia's cavalry and armoured forces have fought in all the key conflicts of the 20th century including the Boer War, World War 1, World War 2, Vietnam, and peacekeeping missions in Somalia and Rwanda. The museum has recently been involved in documenting the RAAC's involvement in East Timor.


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Reply By: Member - Alan H (QLD) - Sunday, Apr 27, 2014 at 07:09

Sunday, Apr 27, 2014 at 07:09
Thanks Doug

Alan
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Reply By: Member - Boobook - Sunday, Apr 27, 2014 at 07:13

Sunday, Apr 27, 2014 at 07:13
Ahh Doug. You brought back memories of the old Pord Palcon joke.
AnswerID: 531305

Follow Up By: Member - DickyBeach - Sunday, Apr 27, 2014 at 10:34

Sunday, Apr 27, 2014 at 10:34
Righto Boobook, out with the joke please.

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Follow Up By: Member - DickyBeach - Sunday, Apr 27, 2014 at 10:48

Sunday, Apr 27, 2014 at 10:48
Forget it, I'm slow on the uptake today, must've been that last glass of wine last night.
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Reply By: Member Bushy 04(VIC) - Sunday, Apr 27, 2014 at 09:02

Sunday, Apr 27, 2014 at 09:02
Thanks Doug, know the place well , served in a Pucka unit in the 80's.
we still have friends serving at Pucka so I get the odd chance to go and have a look at the place, guess what? its still b cold in winter.
Bushy.
AnswerID: 531311

Reply By: Member - Bentaxle - Sunday, Apr 27, 2014 at 12:56

Sunday, Apr 27, 2014 at 12:56
Great photos and write up as always. I can remember my old man, he was a WOll in the Aust Army, referring to Puckapunyal as 'The bleep of the World',after spending countless hours in the field mainly at night cold and wet.
May the fleas of a thousand afghan camels infect the crutch of your enemy and may their arms be too short to scratch.

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Reply By: Member - blackbird1937 - Sunday, Apr 27, 2014 at 13:58

Sunday, Apr 27, 2014 at 13:58
Thanks Doug. As usual a interesting history lesson. Brings back some good and not so good memories of Pucka. My partners Godfather used to be the driver of the Matilda tank during the war that is in the museum there. I spent time in Nashos there in D Company 20th Battalion which was a RAEME company before going to Bandiana in 57. We were in tents near the 25 yard range. i was lucky to be at Pucka when Firepower was held at Scrub Hill in 59. Pity there is no Nashos now as it did not do us any harm only a lot of good.
AnswerID: 531328

Reply By: passionfruit - Sunday, Apr 27, 2014 at 14:41

Sunday, Apr 27, 2014 at 14:41
Was sent there in 1979 to train with the then new Leopard tanks.Was the coldest place I trained in --------------we only had summer kit and were based in Townsville.Cheers Glenn.
AnswerID: 531331

Reply By: Pradobob - Sunday, Apr 27, 2014 at 17:01

Sunday, Apr 27, 2014 at 17:01
I was in Pucka at 21 Construction Squadron (RAEME workshops) for 2 years from 71-73. I was a diesel mech. Not as bad a place as some make it out to be. We lived in a caravan at Seymour, on the banks of the Goulburn River for most of that time. My wife taught at Pucka Primary School.
The Army was good to me. I went on to uni free of charge, and received a healthy allowance as well. I will retire from teaching this year after nearly 40 years.
Bob
AnswerID: 531342

Reply By: DBN05 (tas) - Sunday, Apr 27, 2014 at 22:04

Sunday, Apr 27, 2014 at 22:04
Thanks Doug,

I was there in 1965 and I lived in Sydney, so some not many but some from Qld & NSW did go there.

The old joke as I remember it was

Pulled into servo last night in Seymour with my sister to fill up with fuel and the attendant asked me if I was going to pucka my reply was no she's my sister.

As always thanks again Doug love SHP every week

Harvey

DBN05 (Tas )
I NEVER get lost, but don't i see a lot of NEW places.

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Reply By: Member -Toonfish - Monday, Apr 28, 2014 at 09:49

Monday, Apr 28, 2014 at 09:49
ahh four seasons in one day I finished my time out there briefly detached to 3 trg group with many field exercises freezing and burning at different times of the year.
Many great memories of the rock (AKA Catering School) .
Good pizza good times but alas not a favourite of my postings.
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Reply By: B1B2 - Monday, Apr 28, 2014 at 13:41

Monday, Apr 28, 2014 at 13:41
G'day Doug,
This SHP got my attention, I like the shot of the Staghounds in 1946. It did revive some good memories. We drove those with the 2/14 QMI while in the CMF in the 60's. Twin engine GM's, power steering, power turret, 8'10½" wide, 37mm gun. (never got to fire that:-((). If you had bigger than size 10 boots you couldn't fit in to drive them. They did 70mph but you had to check you had all your wheel nuts were still attached when you stopped.


Cheers,

Bill
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