WAUR ASSOCIATION

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History

Storming the beach at Garden Island Feb 1962

Western Australian University Regiment

1949 - 2017

The Western Australian University Regiment was first raised as the Perth University Regiment on 22 April 1949, with two platoons, and was based at the old flying boat base on the University of Western Australia grounds at Crawley. The role of the Regiment at its inception was to provide military training to undergraduates.

The title Perth University Regiment did not correctly represent the Unit and in May 1950, following complaints from The University of Western Australia the Unit's name changed to the Western Australian University Regiment (WAUR), In January 1950 the unit had one officer and seven OR’s and there was already discussion on disbandment!.

In July 1951 a third platoon was raised at the Claremont Teachers College and by October of that year, WAUR commenced training officers for the CMF. Annual camps around this time were held at Rottnest, Swanbourne and Guildford. August that year saw the formation of the Officer Cadet training company Vacancies for Cadets were available to all Western Command Citizen Military Force Units.

WAUR continued to grow and by June 1952 had a strength of 176 members. During this time WAUR held the RSL Trophy for proficiency in weapons, training and general efficiency making WAUR at the time the most well trained CMF unit in Australia, WAUR was one of the few units to win for three successive years. A further bonus was given to the unit in 1955 when HM the Queen approved the affiliation of WAUR with the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry Regiment now known as the Royal Green Jackets (the first Rifle Regiment)

In 1956 WAUR moved to a depot on Stirling Highway vacated by 10 Light Horse, the Drill hall was built in 1908 originally as a roller skating rink.

WAUR was honoured with the presentation of the Queen's and Regimental Colours on 25 th May 1958 by His Excellency, the Governor of Western Australia, Lieutenant General Sir Charles Gairdner, KCMG, KCVO, CG, CBE. The ceremony took place on the University campus in front of Winthrop Hall.


Plattoon Assult, Collie 1964

 

In 1962 WAUR moved to 20 Mounts Bay Road in Perth, a building with an interesting history in its own right. Originally the site housed a customs bond store – a tin shed for want of a better description, in 1937 a new building incorporating a customs area on the ground floor and a drill hall above was constructed and occupied by the Cameron Highlanders of WA (now 16th Battalion, Royal West Australian Regiment). The building was shared with customs for many years until 1961 when full control of the building was handed over to the Army following customs relocation.

The re-introduction of compulsory national service in 1965 was unlike the national service of the 1950's. The new conscription was selective and offered conscripts a choice of two years full time service in the ARA or five years in the CMF, With this conscription came a major influx of personnel into WAUR. During the 1960's the Regiments strength rose to a stage where the attendance at annual camps was in the region of 300 strong

The increase in strength allowed WAUR to establish its own band, transport and medical platoons. In January 1965 the Regiment held its annual camp under canvas at Collie. A photograph of one of the morning parades shows some four platoons. During this same camp the Regiment was delighted by a visit from Miss Australia 1965 Carol Jackson


Forming up, Manjimup 1981

 

By 1972 anti war feeling against Australia’s involvement in Vietnam was extremely, high both in the media and on campuses around the country. In that year national service was ended and the obligations of conscripts waived. As a result of this and the strong anti military feeling in the community the units strength dropped significantly. So low did the Regiments numbers fall that in 1974 there was a serious consideration afoot to close it down and merge with OCTU.

1974 was also the year of the Millar Committee Report on the CMF, which recommended that both the part time and regular armies be brought closer together. Following this report the CMF came to be known as the Australian Army Reserve (A Res), and such things as pay conditions of service and equipment were bought parallel with the ARA.
From 1975 the unit began showing signs of recovery. Recruiting, which had been almost non existent in 1974 took an upward spiral. A target of 200 members was set that year and a recruiting bounty introduced. By the end of 1977 the unit actually reached this target. Also in 1975 the first edition of WAURior newsletter sprang forth from amongst the intake of the May 1975 Recruit Camp.

With the increase in numbers several changes occurred in the structure and function of the Regiment. The first of these, was the introduction of WRAAC personnel in 1977 to a traditionally all male unit.. The second major change was the realization that not all members of WAUR wished to undergo officer promotion. In response to this the then CO. Lt Col. H.G.Mawson approved the establishment of a Specialist Platoon in 1976. Their first camp was run in January and February of 1977 at Northam which concentrated upon anti armoured warfare. The platoon commander was Lieutenant I.J.Tindale.

By the middle of 1977 the Regiment had acquired four 81mm mortars and a full Support Company had been established with an Assault Pioneer and Mortar Platoon. In 1978 Support Company had been eaten up by HQ Company because the unit was not entitled to its own Support Coy. However in that year the Regiment gained a new CO. LtCol. R.M.Willox. He rationalised the situation concerning companies and postings, creating an organisation of A Company, HQ Company and Training Company. A Company comprised of two rifle platoons and a support platoon. HQ Company had all the admin. tech and logistics elements of the unit, whilst Training Company continued to train recruits through to officer promotion.

 

Northam Recruits 1987

 

The unit peaked in strength in the early eighties with over 500 on the regiments annual camps, which were held at Tone River, Northam and Bindoon, now a fully blow infantry unit the role of officer training had taken a back seat. In the late 1980s the Mounts Bay Road site was sold and demolished. In 1987 WAUR was temporary housed at Irwin Barracks Karrakatta (where 16th Battalion are now located), Nannup and Lancelin were added as Annual camp venues, then in May 1988 another move to Leeuwin Barracks in Fremantle. By now unit strength had more than halved from its peak.

 

Colours Party, Artillery Barracks 1994

 

In September 1991 WAUR's focus was directed solely for provision of Army Reserve Officer training in the Western Region. This defined role led to a restructuring (namely reduction in manning and equipment) of the Regiment in 1992, the same year that WAUR also moved location to the historic Artillery Barracks in Burt Street, East Fremantle. 1997 saw the last Officer Graduation Parade held in Western Australia , as yet another Army restructure lead to WAUR coming under command of the Royal Military College Duntroon in July of that year, thus nationally aligning the technical control of Officer training.

 


July Camp 2001

 

In 2008 the Reserve Individual Training Capability (RITC) scheme was rolled out, subsequently placing WAUR as a unit under command of 13 Brigade and henceforth dedicated to the Army Reserve training continuum, not just Officer training. By early 2009 WAUR had again moved (for the 8th time), this time to the present location of Leeuwin Barracks East Fremantle. Leeuwin Barracks was formerly HMAS Leeuwin, a Navy Junior Ratings base and torpedo resupply facility until 1986.

In its current form WAUR consists of a diverse range of experienced instructors dedicated to the conduct of Reserve Officer Cadet training, driver courses, infantry initial employment training courses, Reserve Response Force courses, and other instructor qualification courses. 

WAUR is currently commanded by LTCOL Natalie Wigg.


Reunion 2000

 

In February 2001 the Western Australian University Regiment Association Inc was formed by three ex Lance Corporals who served in the mid eighties –Their enthusiasm and the backing of WAUR have seen the association rapidly grow in both size and wisdom, the core function of the association is to unite past and present members of WAUR for social gatherings and to record and catalogue the vast amount of unit memorabilia, something that has never been undertaken in the units relatively short history.

Many young men and women, have passed through the WAUR’s ranks. The colours do not carry any battle honours and as a unit we have never actually gone to war. yet many of our ex members are now community leaders who through their service no matter how brief gained an invaluable experience that will hopefully continue to be provided for many years to come.


Course 7, 1972-73

 

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