The Royal Australian Navy and the Australian Army mark 120 years of service to the country today, with members and veterans around the country commemorating all they have achieved.
COMPOSITE IMAGE: An Army Red Beret drops from the sky with the Australian National Flag and the sun sets behind the Australian White Ensign on HMAS Armidale (II). ANF photo by Petty Officer Phil Cullinan. Ensign photo by Petty Officer Yuri Ramsey.
Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester congratulated the two services on this significant milestone and acknowledged the almost two million Australians who had served throughout history, many of who were in the Navy or Army.
“Since 1901, the men and women of the Navy and Army have served with distinction, through war and peace and, more recently, as part of major domestic operations,” Mr Chester said.
“In the past year, Navy and Army have faced new and unexpected challenges as part of the Australian government’s responses to bushfires, a global pandemic and other humanitarian and disaster-relief operations.
“They have been the reassuring faces in our communities, whether it was helping with coronavirus testing checkpoints or evacuating families from bushfire ravaged areas and, while a lot has changed over the last 120 years, the dedication, skills and willingness of our men and women in uniform to help has never wavered.
“Today is also an important day to thank all those families who have supported our personnel throughout history, and those who continue to support them today.
“Happy birthday to the Navy and Army, and to the personnel who have and still do wear those uniforms with pride – thank you for your service.”
The Royal Australian Navy and Australian Army formed on 1 March 1901, through the amalgamation of the Australian colonial forces following Federation.
At the time, they were known as the Commonwealth Naval Forces and Commonwealth Military Forces.
Their current titles were officially granted in 1911 and 1980 respectively.
This year also marks an important milestone for the Royal Australian Air Force, which will celebrate its 100th birthday on 31 March.