Army banner returns home
The iteration of the Australian Army banner for most of the 21st century has come home.
The Army banner used from March 10, 2001, until February 20, 2019, was laid up at the “home of the soldier” in September during a parade and ceremony at the Soldiers’ Chapel of the Army Recruit Training Centre – Kapooka outside of Wagga Wagga, New South Wales.
Regimental Sergeant Major of 1st Recruit Training Battalion, Warrant Officer Class One Simon Thompson, said the banner was laid up in the most fitting place possible – the home of the soldier.
“When one reflects upon the global events that have occurred since 2001, the contribution and sacrifice Army has made over this period, this banner is more than just a symbolic gift from a government – it is our history.
“It is very special and it demanded a final resting place befitting its historical significance in an atmosphere of veneration where Australia’s newest soldiers have an opportunity to view it.
“Unlike the Navy and Air Force, the Australian Army has no flag as such, rather our emblem is the Army banner.
“So given the period of history during which this red cloth was the Army banner, it’s very special, and that’s why we’re proud to have it here at Kapooka.
“You could say it’s come home.”
Chief of Army Lieutenant General Rick Burr said the ceremony was important to recognise the history and traditions represented by the banner.
“I can think of no more appropriate place to lay up the retired Army banner than here at Kapooka, the home of the soldier,” Lieutenant General Burr said.
“The banner represents the history and contributions of our people, from our beginning in 1901 through to today.
“We acknowledge our history that has set the foundation for our people to lead, inspire and make a difference.
“The banner also embodies our Army values of courage, initiative, respect and teamwork. Recruits who go through training at Kapooka will now have a visual reminder of our extensive history and traditions.”
The Army banner is never destroyed or disposed of. As part of historic military tradition the banner is laid up during a military ceremony and then displayed in a sacred or public place.
The Australian Army, on the occasion of its 118th birthday on March 1, 2019, received a new banner to replace the retiring one. The new banner was presented to the Army on behalf of the nation by then Governor-General General (retd) Sir Peter Cosgrove and Corporal Dan Keighran, VC, in a ceremony at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra.