A ceremony on August 6, at Victoria Barracks, Paddington, marked the establishment of a new Australian Army Cadets unit – 248 Army Cadet Unit (ACU) City of Sydney (Gadigal).
CAPTION: Headquarters Forces Command Chief of Staff Brigadier Malcolm Wells inspects the parade during the 248 Army Cadet Unit City of Sydney (Gadigal) raising ceremony at Victoria Barracks. Story by Captain Jordan Grantham. Photo by Corporal Petersen.
248 ACU (Gadigal) is Sydney’s first community-based unit, providing greater access for youth in the central and eastern suburbs of Sydney to participate in Army’s longstanding cadet program.
On the morning of the parade, the cadets marched under the central archway of Victoria Barracks’ historic sandstone building onto the parade ground, where reviewing officer Brigadier Malcolm Wells, Chief of Staff at Headquarters Forces Command, addressed them following a warm welcome to country by Peter McKenzie, an Army veteran and La Perouse Aboriginal community member.
“To have an Army Cadet Unit located here, in the Australian Army’s most iconic barracks, in the heart of Australia’s most influential city, represents something that we are very proud of,” Brigadier Wells said.
“We look forward to doing what we can to ensure this unit – which we would like to feel a special connection to – is, at least, the finest in the brigade, if not the nation.”
Australian Army Cadets Captain Alan Yeung said he was thrilled to be Officer Commanding of the new unit, which he hoped would strengthen Army’s ties to the local community.
“The Gadigal name is quite special,” Captain Yeung said.
“We’re hoping for much more tie-in with the local community, especially the local Indigenous community.
“Previously, in this area, there was no Army Cadet Unit that community members could join; they had to be part of a school-based unit.”
248 ACU is the first to be attached to Sydney’s historic barracks.
Cadet Under Officer Lachi Kankanamage, who is in his fifth year of cadets, said he was looking forward to his appointment as Company Commander 248 ACU.
“Cadets has taught me a lot of leadership skills that I’ve transferred to my role as vice-captain in high school,” Cadet Under Officer Kankanamage said.
Conrad Field, one of several inner Sydney high school students who will soon join 248 ACU, said he was looking forward to new experiences and skills, including navigation.
“My Dad told me about the new unit and it sounded fun. I think it’s cool,” Conrad said.