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  • 22/04/13: Back by request
Contact Info
AAS image
Email: Rod Eagleton

Phone: (02) 4296 9446
Mobile: 0407 573 148

Welcome to ArmyAppy.Com


A website for all things relating to Army Apprentices.

Happy 60th birthday to all of those 24th Intake born like myself in 1953, happy 61st to you old guys & happy 59th to the babies :)

This website is to act as a contact point for ex army apprentices. The Australian Army Apprentices School was located at Balcombe, Victoria on the Mornington Peninsula, they usually joined the Army at the tender age of 14, 15 or 16 for an initial period of 9 years.

The Australian Army Apprentice Association Inc (AAAA Inc) has been formed, their website is at  http://www.austarmyapprentice.org/. If it looks a little familiar, it's because I was the initial Associations Webmaster. Check it out, there is a forum & photos from ArmyAppy.Com & in the same format.  I may drop off the photos section on this website as it will only be a waste of time to duplicate them in both websites.

Army Apprentices School tiny badge Appy History

For many serving within the ranks of the Army, the term Army Apprentice, or ex Appy, is something they are not likely to understand.

The Army for many years enlisted and trained its own tradesmen direct from the high schools and the youth of Australia.

Many teenagers between the ages of 15 and 18 years were enlisted (or given an option by the courts) to undertake a four-year apprenticeship, covering about nine different technical trades, and requiring an initial enlistment period of 9 years service.

The Apprentice scheme was successful in a number of areas but was phased-out by the Army in the mid-1990s. The scheme had its roots at Balcombe Barracks in Victoria, in about 1948, but eventually moved to Latchford Barracks, Bonegilla, in northern Victoria. The apprentice scheme gave birth to a number of unofficial customs, such as Crab Night, and had a language of its own – odd, or even intakes and sproggs (first-year Appy) to name but a few. The apprentice scheme has also seen many of its former members rise to prominence across all ranks and corps of the Australian Army.

AAS Balcombe - aerial view Just found this one in the archives, check it out and try to remember way back when. It's a fairly large file and will take a while to download using a dialup connection, but will be worth it.

Army Apprentices School tiny badge What the Badge means:-

The Cross which forms the spokes of the wheel (the basis of the badge) represents, the Christian virtues and the development of character. The Torch of Learning, which is superimposed upon the Cross, represents that desire to go on learning, which it should be the aim of every School to implant in the hearts and minds of all its sons. The Crossed Swords remind us, as soldiers, of the military qualities of Courage and Discipline and the importance of a high standard of Physical Fitness. The Wheel, of course, represents the trade and technical training carried out at the School, whilst the Crown expresses Loyalty to Queen and Country (and therefore to superiors and comrades alike) and Devotion to Duty.


Army Apprentices School tiny badge A Little Trivia

Why is the parade ground sacred?

After a battle, when retreat was sounded and the unit has reassembled to call the roll and count the dead, a hollow square was formed.
The dead were placed within the square and no-one used the area as a thoroughfare.
Today, the parade ground represents this square and hence, a unit’s dead.
It is deemed to be hallowed ground, soaked with the blood of our fallen and the area is respected as such by all.

Why are Australian Soldiers called "Diggers"?

The nickname 'Digger' is attributed to the number of ex-gold diggers in the early army units and to the trench digging activities of the Australian soldiers during World War I. The actual origin of the name has been lost in time but the Australian soldier is known affectionately around the world as the Digger.