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Prior to 1939, the Ingleburn site was principally used for the grazing of livestock. With the entry of Australia into WWII on 3 September 1939, there was a need for a principal site in New South Wales to train infantry for the Second Military District (NSW). Plans were drawn up for what was called the Ingleburn Military Camp in 1939 and the army acquired the 684 acres in 1940, although they were already in occupation in tents. Accommodation was initially constructed to provide for the 2nd Australian Imperial Forces (AIF). Two hundred and fifty three buildings were originally constructed with a further eighty constructed soon after. These included Artillery Units (62 buildings); Brigade Headquarters (22 buildings); Signallers Unit (44 buildings); Engineers Unit (31 buildings); Works and Ordinance Unit (6 buildings); Army Services Corps Depot (7 buildings); Army Medical Corps Depot (7 buildings); Army Medical Corps (27 buildings); Army Services Corps Camp (80 buildings); Reconnaissance Section (41 buildings) and Miscellaneous buildings (13 buildings).
Ingleburn Army Camp was a purpose built camp constructed in 1940 for the Australian Army at Ingleburn, New South Wales, Australia. Originally known as Ingleburn Military Camp, the commonwealth acquired 684 acres in 1940, which the army had already occupied after setting up tents on 8 October 1939. Accommodation was constructed shortly after by the 2/16th Australian Infantry Battalion to provide for the formation of the Second Australian Imperial Force (2AIF).
During World War II, the camp became the major army training facility in New South Wales. Many important army units who, having trained at the camp, served in some of the major engagements of World War II. All corps were trained at the camp including engineers, transport, signals and anti-aircraft units. Following the outbreak of the Korean War during the 1950s, Battalions destined for Korea were stationed at the camp. National Service recommenced and the camp was a major National Service centre. Many Australians experienced military training at the camp prior to going into a Army Reserve unit. The Commonwealth Government extended compulsory military training in 1964 and conscripts were sent on military operations outside Australia.
Ingleburn was the first purpose-built army camp for the training of Australian infantry to fight in WWII and became the major training facility in New South Wales. It was a unified infantry camp but all corps were represented there including engineers, transport, signals and anti-aircraft units. The camp was an assembly point for Army brigades, most notably, the 16th Battalion of the 6th Division, the first Australian overseas contingent. Other brigades included units from the 7th and 9th Division.
During the years between WWII and Australia’s involvement in the Korean War (1951), the Army leased sections of the site to farmers for grazing purposes. The Korean War saw changes to the size and use of the site. During the 1950s, Battalions destined for Korea were stationed at Ingleburn. National Service recommenced following the outbreak of the Korean War and by 1954 Ingleburn was a major centre for the National Service Program. From 1951 onwards, many Australians experienced military training at Ingleburn prior to going into a Reserve Unit.
By 1959, a number of sporting fields, vehicle parks, larger buildings and a large area of Married Quarters, Ingleburn Village (Bardia), had been constructed. The erection of new married quarters reflected the general policy that homes should be provided for 40% of the established posts at each base. The provision of married quarters in a street layout based on planning for contemporary suburban sub-divisions created a married quarters area like other post war residential suburbs, an important aspect of army life for ‘Army wives’.
The village area and other areas of the Ingleburn Army Camp, including Campbelltown Road, were landscaped at this time with local and introduced species including Spotted Gum (local) and Lemon-scented Gum, Silver-leafed Ironbark and Tallow-wood. Yellow Box and Forest Red Gum and Grey Box were used for avenue plantings in particular.
After 1964, the National Service Program played an even greater role in Ingleburn’s history, when the Commonwealth Government extended compulsory military training and conscripts were sent on military operations outside Australia. In the 1960s, Ingleburn was a focus for public concern over the issue of conscription, as several “conscientious objectors” were interred in Ingleburn’s Guard House and Cell Blocks, usually while awaiting transport to the Military Prison at Holsworthy.
The training of National Service recruits was the main function of Ingleburn from 1951 until 1972, when the Commonwealth Government abolished National Service. Since the end of WWII, the Camp’s main functions was training camp for the National Service Scheme (1951-1972) and as the Headquarters of Second Training Group of the Army Reserves (post 1973).
From the mid-1990s, activity at the Camp began to wind down with the units gradually being transferred to other areas. The site has most recently been used by the Australian Army for housing a combination of army units, as well as being a training facility for the Army Reserve. Many buildings were demolished or destroyed by fire in the late 1990s. The site has not been used by Defence since late 2000, although housing in the Village is currently rented out privately by the Defence Housing Authority. With the departure of tenants, vacant houses have unfortunately been demolished due to vandalism.
The training of National Service recruits was the main function of the camp from 1951 until 1972, when the Commonwealth Government abolished National Service. Since the end of World War II the Camp’s main function was training camp for the National Service Scheme (1951-1972) and as the Headquarters of Second Training Group of the Army Reserves (post 1973). The Camp began was wound down in mid 1990′s with units gradually being transferred to other locations. Many buildings were demolished or destroyed by fire in the late 1990s. The site has been vacant since late 2000.
2/16th Australian Infantry Battalion
2/20th Australian Infantry Battalion
2/16th Australian Infantry Battalion Memorial (relocated)
National Servicemen Memorial (relocated)
Memorial Wall dedicated (lists names of all units which have served at Ingleburn)
Memorial grove of cypress surrounding a sandstone column monument
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Godden Mackay Logan, “Ingleburn Defence Site: Heritage Analysis” .prepared for Department of Defence, Major Property Disposal Unit, June 2001.
Hobbs, R. “Deakin ACT: A Heritage Profile, Housing 1950-70″ June 1991.
National Archives: DWB-Married Quarters-Policy-Hawksley type prefabricated cottage (National Archives Series number A705, item 171/10/95).
Department of Works and Housing, Melbourne. Prefabricated Houses (24 May 1951)-an inventory of the housing type and other standard buildings employed by the Commonwealth in the immediate post war years.
Schwager Brooks and Partners Pty Ltd & Thorp W. “Review of the Status and Value of Army’s Historic Buildings”, September 1995.