Australian Army Cadets

Australian Army Cadets

The Australian Army Cadets (AAC) is a youth organisation that is involved with progressive training of youths in military and adventurous activities. The programme has more than 19,000 Army Cadets between the ages of 12 1/2 and 18 based in 232 units around Australia.

The cadet programme has strong links to the Australian Army but it is not incorporated in the Australian Defence Force. While cadets are encouraged to consider enlisting in the military, it is not expected or required that they do so.

Activities of the Army Cadets include canoeing, orienteering, ceremonial drills, communication skills, basic bush skills, equipment maintenance, cadet bands, and shooting with .22 and F88 Steyrs with one on one Army supervision.


The AAC is authorised under Section 62 of the "Defence Act 1903". The Australian Army Cadets commonly abbreviated as AAC is a youth organisation that is modelled on the Australian Army. It differs from Scouts and other youth exploration groups as its main focus is that of learning and using military skills. The organisation boasts a nation wide reach with Cadet units in every state and territory in Australia.

Youth who have reached the age of 12 years and 6 months are eligible to apply for enrolment into the AAC. Once enrolled, they may remain as a cadet until the end of the year in which they attain 18 years of age, or in special circumstances, until attaining 20 years of age. A cadet in the AAC is considered to be a member of the Australian Defence Force.


The aim of military training within the AAC is:

*to develop an interest in the Army and its traditions;
*to encourage cadets to continue military or community service;
*to give cadets a foundation of military knowledge and discipline;
*to develop the qualities of leadership, self-discipline, self-reliance and initiative; and
*to provide training that may contribute to Army common induction training.


The King's School and Newington College vie for the honour of having the oldest Cadet Corps in Australia [ Kings School Cadet Page] ] . An embryonic corps was founded by Newington when a drill master was appointed to staff in 1865. Two years later a sergeant-major was appointed to Newington and muskets and carbines were purchased and an armoury and gunpowder store were opened at the college. The first official unit was established in Australia in 1866, at St Mark's Collegiate School, Macquarie Fields, New South Wales. In June 1864 Kings had closed and did not reopen until January 1869 when it amalgamated with St Mark's and the Kings and St Mark's unit subsequently became one. In 1869 the Newington College Cadet corps was formally incorporated by the Governor of New South Wales (Somerset Lowry-Corry, 4th Earl Belmore)and that unit is now believed to be the oldest continually running corps in Australia. [Newington Across the Years, A History of Newington College 1863-1998 (Syd, 1999) pp 4-17 ]

With the establishment of many cadet units and corps at numerous boys schools throughout the Commonwealth, His Majesty King Edward VII established the Commonwealth Cadet Corps in Australia on the 16 July 1906.

On the 2 May 1970, The Duke of Edinburgh presented his banner as a gift to the Corps following his appointment as Colonel-in-Chief of the Australian Cadet Corps in 1963. The presentation took place at Victoria Barracks, Sydney.

On the 24 September 2005, Governor-General Michael Jeffery presented a replacement banner on behalf of the Duke to commemorate the centenary of the cadets.

The AAC celebrated its centenary on the 16 July 2006 (marked as a centenary since the establishment of the Commonwealth Cadet Corps, as opposed to the centenaries of individual units, many of which have already occurred).

Since its establishment, the Corps has experienced three name changes, firstly to the Australian Cadet Corps (ACC), then the Australian Army Cadet Corps, and finally, in 2001 to its present title, the Australian Army Cadets.

In 2001 the Minister for Defence approved the title of Australian Army Cadets with the short title of AAC, The Corps title was dropped so that they would not be linked with the Australian Army.

The Duke of Edinburgh's Banner

As mentioned above, the Duke of Edinburgh's Banner was presented to the Australian Cadet Corps by Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh on the 2 May 1970 (the organisation being some 46,000 cadets strong at the time). This banner has been carried with pride on many a subsequent parade of significance in the AAC. As stipulated in the Australian Army Cadets Policy Manual (2004):

*Carriage of the Banner
**2.09 The Duke of Edinburgh's Banner may only be carried on:
***a. parades and Guards of Honour which are representative of the AAC as a whole or in a AAC BDE/BN, or
***b. special occasions as described below.
**2.10 Approval will normally be given for the Banner to be carried on the following special occasions:
***a. royal visits,
***b. ceremonial parades which are reviewed by the Colonel-in-Chief of the AAC,
***c. ceremonial parades attended by a Vice-Regal personage when the occasion is such that it would be appropriate to parade the Banner, and
***d. on occasions of significance to the AAC.

The Duke of Edinburgh's Banner may only be carried by a Cadet Under Officer, referred to on-parade as 'Banner Ensign'. When on parade, the Banner must be escorted by two cadets holding maximum rank of Cadet Warrant Officer Class One and preferably minimum rank of Cadet Sergeant, with this extending to Cadet Corporal, should circumstances dictate.

On the 24 September 2005, the Governor-General, Major General Michael Jeffery, presented a replacement banner to the AAC on the behalf of the Duke of Edinburgh. The Governor-General was received on-parade by some 250 cadets from units across the nation, representing the 16,000 members of the Australian Army Cadets as a whole. This Parade took place at Victoria Barracks - Sydney.

Between the 5 July 2008 and the 12 July 2008 the Duke of Edinburgh's Banner was paraded at the Final Parade of the 03/08 Promotion Courses in NSW. This was an honour to see for all Cadets in attendance.


*Headquarters of the Australian Army, including the Directorate of Defence Force Cadets.

*Australian Army Cadet Headquarters (AAC HQ).


*Battalion Command within each brigade, of which in Victoria consist of 1 AC Bn (Metropolitan), 2 AC Bn (Eastern), 3 AC Bn (Northern) and 4 AC Bn (Western) and follows the same in the other states.

*Cadet Units are usually based on a company structure (the larger units are based on a battalion structure), and are under the control of both the Brigade and Battalion HQ's.

The Rank Structure

The rank structure takes place in a new framework which is designed to give positions of responsibility to older cadets with the oversight of career defence personnel assigned to AAC. Whilst many of the ranks continue to be identical to those of the Australian Army, traditional officer ranks can be attained by older cadets which fufill a criterion relevant to that rank. The highest position a cadet can achieve is the National Cadet Under Officer.

= School Based Cadet Units =

School Based Cadet Units are essentially the same as Community Based Units with a few minor differences. When the Whitlam Government discontinued funding to the cadet organisations most government school cadet units were unable to operate due to lack of funds and equipment. Army cadets forces were kept alive mainly by various private school cadet units. These schools were able to use surplus bursaries to effectively fund the units. After the Whitlam Government was dismissed from office some staff and former cadets were able to establish cadet units with the support of the local community or Army unit (using their facilities to conduct training) - hence the terms 'community based unit' or regional cadet unit (RCU). Some smaller school based units allow non-members of that school to become members, in some units membership in the unit for a certain period of time is compulsory.



*Cadet Recruit (CDTREC) - Cadets begin their experience where they are allocated to a section which consists of their Section Commander, a Section Second-in-Command and up to eight fellow recruits/cadets.

*Cadet (CDT) - At completion of recruit training, may take on other roles such as logistics after completion of their first year or stay in a section, sometimes appointed as Section Second-in-Command.

*Cadet Lance Corporal (CDTLCPL) - Most commonly a Section Second-in-Command, a variety of other appointments exist eg, logistics.

*Cadet Corporal (CDTCPL) - Most commonly a Section Commander, again a diverse variety of appointments exists.

*Cadet Sergeant (CDTSGT) - Usually a Platoon Sergeant, other positions, such as Training Sergeant, exist.

*Cadet Staff Sergeant (CDTSSGT) - Positions can vary. Most commonly a Company Quartermaster Sergeant (CQMS). Other positions in special cases include the Company Sergeant Major (CSM) and Platoon Commanders. Although this rank has been phased out in the Australian Defense force (ADF), this rank will remain in the AAC

*Cadet Warrant Officer Class Two (CDTWO2) - Position is generally the Company Sergeant Major. Other existing appointments include the Operations Warrant Officer and the Training Warrant Officer, as well as Regimental Quartermaster Sergeants in large Units.

*Cadet Warrant Officer Class One (CDTWO1) - Position exists in the AAC for Regimental Sergeant Majors. RSMs are appointed in each battalion, brigade and in the case of School Based Units, an RSM may be appointed with the CDTWO1 rank where their establishment is large enough. Brigade or Regional RSMs may apply and possibly receive the position of National Cadet Regimental Sergeant Major, bearing an insignia similar to the Regimental Sergeant Major - Army (RSM-A) - encircled in a blue wreath so as to provide a distinction from that of RSM-A. A cadet with the rank of CDTWO1 may also hold the position of RQ or Regimental Quartermaster for the corps.

*Cadet Under Officer (CUO)- Cadet Under Officer is the cadet equivalent of a junior officer although they do not receive a commission and are subordinate to all adult staff. The insignia consists of a large hollow diamond, referred to as a 'lozenge'. The lozenge's outline consists of 27 1/2 chevrons. CUOs are generally Platoon Commanders and more senior CUO's are Company Commanders and Company Second-In-Command's . Headquarter positions exist at battalion, brigade and national level, with each battalion and brigade having a Regional Cadet Under Officer. The rank insignia for a Regional Cadet Under Officer for a state is a lozenge with a blue center. At National Headquarters level, the CUO is appointed as a National Cadet Under Officer. They bear a lozenge with a red centre. The new national framework allows for more selection to this position.

Instructor of Cadets (IOC) Rank

*Corporal (AAC) [CPL(AAC)]

*Sergeant (AAC) [SGT(AAC)]

*Staff Sergeant (AAC) [SSGT(AAC)]

*Warrant Officer Class Two (AAC) [WO2(AAC)]

*Warrant Officer Class One (AAC) [WO1(AAC)]

Officer of Cadets (OOC) Rank

*Second Lieutenant (AAC) [2LT(AAC)]

*Lieutenant (AAC) [LT(AAC)]

*Captain (AAC) [CAPT(AAC)]

*Major (AAC) [MAJ(AAC)]

*Lieutenant Colonel (AAC) [LTCOL(AAC)]

*Colonel (AAC) [COL(AAC)]

Australian Army Cadet Commanding Officers

Commanding Officer's (CO) of AAC Units are typically of Lieutenant Colonel (LTCOL) rank. Under current policy, a cadet unit needs to have in excess of 380 cadets to warrant this rank. Smaller unit are run by an Officer Commanding (OC) of Major or Captain rank. Newly appointed OOC to command positions within a cadet unit are often given a trial period. During this time rather than being referred to as a CO or OC they are termed an Administrative Commander (ADMIN COMD). On successful completion of the agreed trial or probationary period and completion of the OOC Command Course their appointment is changed to CO or OC as the case warrants.



Drill training encompasses all Army drill movements from Attention and Stand at Ease; to Forms on the March. Cadets also learn weapon drill, including Weapons Drill with Lee Enfield .303 Rifle, L1A1 SLRs and F88 Austeyrs. .303 and SLR drill is being phased out and is only taught at unit level. WO2' and WO1's perform Cane and Pace Stick drill respectively. In the case of a Cadet Under Officer, Sword Drill is performed.


Cadets are taught navigational skills in line with the Australian Army's navigation training for all ranks. The advent of the GPS has seemingly obviated the need for basic skills however the AAC believes that all cadets still need to know the basics and so they are taught a comprehensive program. There is an emphasis on military equipment and maps. Consequently cadets are taught to use the standard issue service prismatic compass along with the lightweight compass, protractor and standard issue service topographical survey maps. Advanced training incorporates orienteering and rogaining.


Cadets are taught Ratel (Radio Telephony) skills in accordance with the Australian Army's ratel training. Cadets are taught the use of communications equipment such as the ANPRC 77 Set, or simply UHF Handheld radios, and the proper processes that apply to communications in the Army. Cadets are also taught the maintenance of their radio equipment.

Promotions Courses

To receive a promotion above the rank of Cadet in the Australian Army Cadets, cadets must complete promotion courses. Promotions courses are run by each Brigade for their own cadets and are planned by Brigade Headquarters. To obtain the rank of Cadet Lance Corporal or Cadet Corporal, a cadet must be deemed competent on the AAC Junior Leaders' Course (JLC, previously known as the Junior Non-commissioned Officers Course, JNCO Course). To be promoted to Cadet Sergeant or Cadet Staff Sergeant, a cadet must then pass the AAC Senior Leaders' Course Module 1(SLC Mod 1). This was previously known Senior Non-Commissioned Officer's Course(SNCO Course), and is often today shortened to SLC. For any further promotion, a cadet must complete AAC Senior Leaders' Course - Module 2 (SLC Mod 2), which is also known as the Cadet Under Officers' and Cadet Warrant Officers' Course (CUO/CDTWO Course).

In New South Wales, promotion courses have been held in such locations as the Holsworthy Barracks, south of Sydney, HMAS Harman in Canberra, and Centre Ridge at the Singleton Army Training Area. In April 2006, the SLC Mod 2 course was held for the first time ever at the Royal Military College, Duntroon in Canberra, a prestigious moment in the history of the AAC.

SA AAC Bde hold their promotion courses at Hampstead Barracks in Adelaide. the course is held over a week and consists of long hard days without much personal time. This facilitates identification of those cadets who are not yet able to cope with the stresses that come with being a junior or senior leader.

In Victoria the promotion courses are usually held at the old National Service Lines in Puckapunyal. However, between 2004 and 2006, asbestos removal was taking place at that site. Instead, they have been held at other locations, such as RAAF Williams (Laverton and Point Cook sites) and Simpson Barracks.

In Western Australia the promotion courses are held at Leeuwin Barracks and Bindoon Training Area.

In the Northern Territory the promotion courses are held at Robertson Barracks usually over the Easter holidays.

In North Queensland Promotions Courses are combined to train all ranks in the one eight day period in December annually. They are traditionally held at Abergowrie College, near Ingham. However, they are now going to be held at All Souls Saint Gabriel's School in Charters Towers.

In Tasmania the promotions courses are held at Pontville Small Arms Range with the JLC in June and the SLC in September. The SLC mod 2 (CDTWO/CUO course) is held at Puckapunyal in December

The content of these courses is outlined by National Headquarters (HQ AAC) in the AAC's Training Management Package (TMP), with a common list of instruction and assessment applicable to each course.

National Cadet Advisory Council

The NCAC is the link between cadets and HQ, and consistes of the NCUO, RCUOs, NRSM and RRSMs. The NCAC has the power to change cadet policy and is the voice of cadets at HQ. The NCAC is chaired by the National CUO of the day, presently CUO Allison Clapperton, who also SGT WEDDING serves as an ex-officio to a number of other hierarchical executive boards which are significantly involved in setting the strategic and operational direction of the AAC and the wider of the ADFC. Through this representation and the role of the NCUO, cadets of all ranks and status are effectively involved in the ongoing management of the AAC.


See also

*Australian Army
*Australian Defence Force Cadets
*Australian Air Force Cadets
*Australian Navy Cadets

External links

* [ Australian Army Cadets Website]
* [ CadetNet Website]
* [ JRAHS Cadet Unit]

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