Introduction

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is the military organisation responsible for the defence of Australia. It consists of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and a number of 'tri-service' units. The ADF has a strength of just under 80,000 full-time personnel and active reservists, and is supported by the Department of Defence and several other civilian agencies.

During the first decades of the 20th century, the Australian Government established the armed services as separate organisations. Each service had an independent chain of command. In 1976, the government made a strategic change and established the ADF to place the services under a single headquarters. Over time, the degree of integration has increased and tri-service headquarters, logistics and training institutions have supplanted many single-service establishments.

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The north face of the Shrine

The Shrine of Remembrance, located in St Kilda Road, Melbourne, is one of the largest war memorials in Australia. It was built as a memorial to the 114,000 men and women of Victoria who served in World War I, but soon came to be seen as Australia's major memorial to all the 60,000 Australians who died in that war. It now serves as a memorial for all Australians who served in war, and is the site of annual observances of ANZAC Day (25 April) and Remembrance Day (11 November). Around the Sanctuary walls is a frieze of 12 carved panels depicting the armed services at work and in action during World War I. The Sanctuary is surrounded by a narrow walkway called the Ambulatory. Along the Ambulatory are 42 bronze caskets containing hand-written, illuminated Books of Remembrance with the names of every Victorian who enlisted for active service with the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) or Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force in World War I or died in camp prior to embarkation.

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Canberra Success.jpg

Photo credit: PH1 Terry Cosgrove USN
The guided missile frigate HMAS Canberra refuels from the underway replenishment tanker HMAS Success as the vessels takes part in exercise RIMPAC '88 off the coast of Hawaii.

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"Australian troops had, at Milne Bay, inflicted on the Japanese their first undoubted defeat on land. Some of us may forget that, of all the allies, it was the Australians who first broke the invincibility of the Japanese army."
Field Marshal Sir William Slim.

Selected anniversaries

August 15

Did you know...

AV2767 Crusader in 1945

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News

  • 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 being missing in action since 1966 during the 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 Read more...

Selected biography

Simpson and the donkey.jpg

John Simpson Kirkpatrick (6 July 1892 – 19 May 1915), also known as Jack Simpson, was a stretcher bearer with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at Gallipoli during World War I. He landed at Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915 and, on that first night, took a donkey and began carrying wounded from the battle line to the beach for evacuation. He continued this work for three and a half weeks, many times under direct fire, until he was killed. Today, Simpson and his Donkey are an Anzac legend. Kirkpatrick is probably the best known soldier of the First Australian Imperial Force.

Daily unit

The Australian Army Rising Sun hat badge used between 1904 and 1949

The First Australian Imperial Force (1st AIF) was the main expeditionary force of the Australian Army during World War I. It was formed from August 15, 1914, following Britain's declaration of war on Germany. The 1st AIF was a purely volunteer force for the duration of the war and was gradually expanded to a peak strength of five infantry divisions, most elements of two mounted divisions and various supporting units. The 1st AIF included the Australian Flying Corps, which was later separated to form the Royal Australian Air Force. Most units of the 1st AIF were disbanded after the war, though some were later reactivated.

Selected equipment

Yeramba spg (AWM p04301 007).jpg

The Yeramba was a self-propelled artillery vehicle built in Australia after the end of the Second World War. They were produced by mounting the 25 pounder gun howitzer on an American M3A5 Grant tank hull, converted by the Ordnance Factory Bendigo from 1950 to 1952. Along with most other WWII era tanks in Australia they were disposed of in 1956. Surviving Yerambas can be seen at the RAAC tank museum at Puckapunyal, Victoria, and at the Melbourne Tank Museum in Narre Warren.

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Major topics

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

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

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

Special Forces
1st Commando Regiment, 2nd Commando Regiment, 171st Squadron, 200 Flight, Coastwatchers, Special Operations Engineer Regiment, SASR, SOCOMD, Tactical Assault Group, WWII Commando companies, Z Special Unit

Featured, A-Class and Good content

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Featured articles:1940 Brocklesby mid-air collisionAdmiralty Islands campaignAdrian Cole (RAAF officer)AHS CentaurAlan McNicollAlexander PentlandAlister MurdochAllan WaltersArthur 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 WarkBobby GibbesBrian EatonBruce KingsburyCedric HowellCharles Eaton (RAAF officer)Colin HannahConvoy GP55David Evans (RAAF officer)Edgar TownerEdmund HerringEllis WackettElwyn Roy KingFrank BerrymanFrank BladinFrank HeadlamFrank Hubert McNamaraFrederick SchergerGarnet MalleyGeorge Jones (RAAF officer)Guadalcanal CampaignHarry ChauvelHarry MurrayHector WallerHenry Burrell (admiral)Henry Wells (general)Henry WrigleyHMAS Melbourne (R21)HMS Nairana (1917)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 Wilton (general)John WhittleLanding at NadzabLes HoldenLester 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 Flying Training School RAAFNo. 1 Squadron RAAFNo. 1 Wing RAAFNo. 2 Operational Conversion Unit RAAFNo. 33 Squadron RAAFNo. 34 Squadron RAAFNo. 36 Squadron RAAFNo. 450 Squadron RAAFNo. 77 Squadron RAAFNo. 79 Squadron RAAFNo. 90 Wing RAAFOperation KitaOswald WattOtto BecherPaterson Clarence HughesPeter Jeffrey (RAAF officer)Raymond BrownellReg Pollard (general)Reg SaundersRichard Williams (RAAF officer)Roderic DallasRoy DowlingRoy PhillippsSingapore strategyShrine of RemembranceStanley GobleStanley SavigeThomas Baker (aviator)Thomas BlameyTom DerrickValston HancockVictoria Cross for AustraliaWalter PeelerWilliam BostockWilliam BrillWilliam Ellis NewtonWilliam Hely

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A Class:2/18th Battalion (Australia)Admiralty Islands campaignAir Combat Group RAAFAlan CharlesworthAustralian 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 PetreHenry WrigleyHippolyte De La RueHorace RobertsonJohn NorthcottJoseph MaxwellLanding at SaidorLeslie MorsheadLewis McGeeNo. 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 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 YongjuBritish nuclear tests at MaralingaCharles CrombieCharles Read (RAAF officer)Charles ScherfDave ShannonDemobilisation of the Australian military after World War IIErnest 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 ClisbyLeslie Douglas JacksonMary 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 Long Range Flight RAAFNo. 1 Operational Conversion Unit RAAFNo. 2 Service Flying Training School 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 RAAFOperation BribiePeter IsaacsonPeter RawPeter Roy Maxwell DrummondPeter Turnbull (RAAF officer)Richard MinifieRobert A. LittleRussell FoskettSecond Battle of PasschendaeleSelarang Barracks IncidentStuart Clarence GrahamVirgil BrennanWilfrid Kent HughesAustralian contribution to the Allied Intervention in Russia 1918–1919

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2nd Infantry Brigade (New Zealand)Australian Army Veterinary CorpsMilitary history of Australia during the Malayan Emergency32nd Small Ship Squadron, Royal Australian Engineers1st Aviation Regiment (Australia)1st Combat Engineer Regiment (Australia)II Anzac Corps5th Division (Australia)11th Division (Australia)11th Brigade (Australia)Alfred Richard Baxter-CoxAustralian military involvement in peacekeepingEmile DechaineuxHarold FarncombHistory of the Australian ArmyHistory of the Royal Australian Air ForceJohn BakerJohn RoystonLanding at AitapeLark ForceNew Guinea campaignNorthern Territory ForceRobert William RankinCorps of Royal New Zealand EngineersHMNZS Resolution (A-14)Military history of New Zealand in MalaysiaNew Zealand and Australian DivisionNew Zealand Mounted Rifles BrigadeNew Zealand Rifle BrigadeSurvey Motor BoatList of Royal Australian Air Force aircraft squadronsList of Australian generals and brigadiersList of Australian armoured unitsAustralian Army Artillery Units, World War IAir Lift GroupSurveillance and Response GroupCombat Support Group RAAFAerospace Operational Support Group RAAF41 WingNo. 26 Squadron RAAFNo. 29 Squadron RAAFAir Movements Training and Development Unit RAAFSurveillance and Control Training Unit RAAFNo. 386 Expeditionary Combat Support Squadron RAAFNo. 322 Combat Support Squadron RAAFNo. 323 Combat Support Squadron RAAFNo. 324 Combat Support Squadron RAAFNo. 1 Combat Logistics Squadron RAAFNo. 1 Air Terminal Squadron RAAFNo. 3 Airfield Defence Squadron RAAFNew South Wales Mounted Rifles Combat Reserve Wing RAAFJohn William Alexander O'BrienHarold Pope (soldier)William James Macavoy Lockemore...
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7th Field Regiment, Royal Australian ArtilleryAustralian Army Veterinary CorpsMilitary history of Australia during the Malayan Emergency32nd Small Ship Squadron, Royal Australian Engineers
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2nd Division (Australia)4th Division (Australia)5th Division (Australia)Australian and New Zealand Army CorpsAustralian New Guinea Administrative UnitAustralian occupation of German New GuineaBombing of Rabaul (November 1943)FCU UNTACHenry Arthur GoddardMilitary history of OceaniaNew Zealand ArmyOperation I-Go
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