SCHOOL OF INFANTRY – INGLEBURN

History:

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.

Units previously based at Ingleburn Army Camp

2/16th Australian Infantry Battalion
2/20th Australian Infantry Battalion

The memorials located at Ingleburn Army Camp include;

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

Sources:

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ingleburn_Army_Camp

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.

http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/ahdb/search.pl?mode=place_detail;place_id=103576


  7 comments for “SCHOOL OF INFANTRY – INGLEBURN

  1. Brian William Battle
    June 18, 2010 at 3:02 am

    I am the curator of the museum run by The Ingleburn Military Precinct Association Inc and also a historian/author/publisher regarding history of Ingleburn Army Camp and Post WW2 national Service Schemes. The history displayed on your website is only a microcosm of the heritage value and history of this camp. During its period of commission it was the primary training camp for the Australian Army. This is because of the numbers that passed through the camp; the number of different Corps that were trained there; the variety of the training that is still unmatched by any other single military camp; the honours won by soldiers trained at this camp; and the uniquness that it had because it was not an isolated island as most other military installations are and have been.I would be happy to provide you with a full and detailed history as well as the heritage value that the Ingleburn Military Heritage Precinct provides to the whole Australian community. Unfortunately the wall of memories has a number of incorrect listings and has a large numbe rof ommissions, particularly in regard to the sixties period. My credentials can be verified by contacting the Australian Army History Unit canberra ACT.

    • Abalinx
      June 18, 2010 at 8:53 am

      Thank you Brian, A message has been sent to you via email. I look forward to hearing from You. Editor

      • Abalinx
        July 19, 2010 at 9:06 pm

        Hello Paul,

        Thank you for your message. Your Dad was and still is a fine man. I remember that he was not afraid of anything or anyone. If he didn’t like you you then he would avoid you. Luckily he like me. (But thats another story) Your mother and father were very kind to me when I visited them in 1982 – 1983 whilst posted to 11 Independent rifle Company RWAR. I got the shock of my life when I saw that your Dad was a commissioned Officer. I could never bring myself to call him sir at any stage. Not because of the lack of respect, but only because he was my mate. In any case he would not have
        wanted me to any way. West Australia is a special place for me as many of my friends are still there. In fact when I arrived in Australia in 1954 from Greece as a youngster, Fremantle was my first port of call. So I guess I am really a “Sand Groper” . I am pleased to hear that your Dad retired from the Army as a Major. “Ahhhh such is the folly of youth”. My warmest regards to your parents. Peter Adamis (Pete the Greek)

    • Neil Collins
      March 15, 2011 at 7:41 am

      Hello Brian,
      Found this site whilst I was ‘googling’ the Ingleburn Military Historical Precinct, after a friend who lives nearby and has a great interest in all things military commented that it is a shame the area is running down. He made a suggestion that there are a number of small military museums, that don’t see a lot of patronage and maybe the museums and area would benefit from a consolidation of some of these at Ingleburn. From my point of view, I was a member of 102 Field Bty RAA at Holsworthy, mid to late 70′s (I even spent a week in 2 Mil. Hospital) and from a young age received a thrill when the family drove through the area as I was a cadet for 4 years and loved all things military. Now driving through there is just sad.
      So, I got to thinking, what about a serious development that incorporates all the interested Corps and other Services that wish to participate. To that end, The Australian War Memorial has a huge amount of gear that is not on display, but stored in the annexe at Mitchell ACT (same friend and I went down for the open day – I saw things relevant to my service), that may expand their horizons, as well as being an ad for the Memorial in Canberra. There are items all around, eg. there are two Canberra bombers rotting in a paddock at Willowbank Qld., the Infantry Museum at Singleton might be able to supply a display (I have driven past there many times and thought “must get in there one day” – still haven’t been there). Other thoughts include a parkland development, such as a walking track with memorials and information at regular intervals,as the current landscaping forms a mature basis for any open development. In regard to the old village, maybe some of the cost could be offset by a limited residential development, but only for those with some sort of military background (subject to rules that are beyond the scope of this e-mail). There are also private collection that very few see, I believe there is a comprehensive collection of Warbirds at Scone, that I knew nothing about (friend soon put me right). Also recently the RAN cleared out its museum at the Air Station at Nowra. It is now all Navy relevant, but is a bit less exciting than when there were all sorts of aircraft and equipment packed in there.
      To reiterate, I’m a bit sad the old Ingleburn is gone and feel deep down it will succumb to the mighty dollar and all heritage will be pushed aside for housing. The last few years have seen a resurgence in interest in the ANZAC Day march, we have two recent VC recipients and sadly, our soldiers killed on foreign soil. Than you for the time taken in reading this wishing you the best.
      Neil Collins (former Bombardier RAA)

      • November 22, 2012 at 8:13 pm

        Hello Neil
        I’m producing an oral history project for Landcom on the Ingleburn Army base and am interested in talking to people who were at the 2Military Hospital at Ingleburn. My contact details are:

        Frank Heimans
        15 Fifth Ave Cremorne NSW 2090. Phone (02) 9953 8071, mobile: 0410668 071
        Looking forward to hearing from you.

        • Matt Preston
          January 5, 2013 at 10:16 am

          I served at 2 Mil in the late 80s. Happy to help if I can.

  2. Kerrin Bassett
    June 27, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Came across this site when searching for something on Ingleburn Army Camp. I lived there for the first 15 years of my life and attended the public school. I lived in Bass Rd ( A Block as it was known back then. My old home is still standing, but it saddens me to know that it may soon be demolished. Would love to sit on the front porch one more time before it goes.

    Kerrin Bassett – Ingleburn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *