Thursday, June 11, 2015

Between Battles 11: 4RAA Historical Collection


 The 4th Field Regiment Royal Australian Artillery (4RAA) has one of the longest historical lineages of any regiment in the Australian Army. The origins of the unit can be traced back to the Victorian Volunteer Artillery in the 1850s, however it was officially raised as the 4th Field Artillery Brigade (4FAB AIF) on 23 September 1915, when it was established as an artillery support to Australian units and allied forced based in Egypt during the First World War. 

Throughout two world wars and conflicts in Vietnam, East Timor and Bougainville, 4RAA has retained strong ties to its origins during World War One. Most importantly the spirit and the legacy of such a rich history continues to impact upon those involved with contemporary conflicts and peacekeeping activities today.   

This year the unit celebrates 100 years of service, making Anzac commemorations in 2015 enormously significant for the unit, as well as a perfect starting point for our own research.

4RAA maintains a unit museum and historical collection at Lavarack Barracks in Townsville where the unit is now stationed. The museum’s curator, retired Warrant Officer Class Two (WO2) Paddy Durnford, provides ongoing historical support to the unit with assistance from two highly dedicated volunteers, Kevin and Toby. 

Paddy is a very knowledgeable individual having held the position of curator for 16 years, and very kindly assisted our research team in identifying a number of cultural artefacts housed within the collection including musical instruments, examples of trench art and various soldiers’ personal possessions. 
Photographer:  Jane Ryder
The historical collection itself is quite broad comprising memorabilia from various engagements ranging from World War One through to Vietnam and all contemporary peace keeping objectives from Cambodia to Afghanistan.

The museum has a particular focus on regimental horses including heavy draft, light draft, riding horses and mules, as this was a unique aspect of 4RAA’s organisational structure since its inception prior to World War One, and an important aspect of the unit’s artillery history.  Artillery guns and ammunition are also included within the museums display. 

The collection is open by appointment only.  Members of the public may arrange to visit on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. If you would like to know more about the museum or you would like arrange a time to view the historical collection please contact Paddy via phone on (07) 4411 7252 or by email at paddy.durnford@defence.gov.au.

References/Further reading:
Australian Army, 4th Regiment, RAA, retrieved from http://www.army.gov.au/Our-people/Units/Forces-Command/3rd-Brigade/4th-Regiment-RAA (accessed 11/06/2015)

Burke, A.R. 4th Field Regiment: Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery Historical Guide. Goprint: Brisbane, 2003.

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