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THE HOME OF THE CORPS
CO - RSM

School of Army Health

A BRIEF HISTORY
LTCOL Morgan
By LTCOL Barry Morgan
Photos and illustrations by RAAMC Association Members.

The School of Army Health was raised at Puckapunyal in 1949 when a group of selected Offices, Warrant Officers and Senior Non Commissioned Officers first conducted formal courses. Prior to this the responsibility for training was vested in the Militia Medical Units.

Summerleigh LodgeThe School of Army Health moved to Fort Franklin, Portsea in 1950. Fort Franklin was part of the Port Phillip defences prior to and during both World Wars and is located on the northern side of the Portsea village. The historical buildings are now part of the Lord Mayor of Melbourne’s holiday camp for children.

Regular operational commitments following WW2 created a need for continuous medical support. It was recognised that there was a need to establish a Corps School in a new location in order to provide coordinated Health Service Training for both the Regular and Reserve Components of the Army. Fort Franklin was a small site. The new location needed to be a suitable, healthy and attractive site, which could provide adequate training facilities and basic accommodation as well as access to suitable training areas.

After a study by BRIG W.D. (later MAJGEN Sir William) Refshauge and LTCOL W.W. (Wally) McLellan, the then Director General Medical Services (DGMS), MAJGEN Frank Kingsley Norris, negotiated the purchase of Summerleigh Lodge, Healesville as theSoah gates new home for the Corps School. Healesville is situated 64km east of Melbourne in the foothills of the southern most fringe of the Great Dividing Range. Summerleigh Lodge was a large guesthouse built in the 1920s for travellers from Melbourne. It was chosen for its location, atmosphere and grounds to support varied training activities. Healesville provided access to suitable training areas in the nearby mountains. The property was purchased and officially handed over to the Army on the 1st December 1951. Additional buildings were moved from Puckapunyal and Melbourne, including the WW2 Recruiting Depot in Royal Park.

On 20 Jul 1983 the School of Army Health was officially named Norris Barracks in honour of MAJGEN Sir Frank Kingsley Norris, KBE, CB, DSO, ED, who was DGMS 1948-55.

soah course

In 1984, the Minister for Defence announced that the School of Army Health would vacate Norris Barracks at Healesville in 1986. The last Commanding Officer / Chief Instructor (CO/CI) at Healesville was LTCOL P.A.R. (Phillip) Hills, who was charged with the responsibility for the planning of the move to the new location.

soah signThe School of Army Health started the move to Portsea in January 1986, this time into the barracks vacated by the Officer Cadet School (OCS). The site that OCS occupied was on the southern side of the Portsea village, in buildings previously used by the Quarantine Station on Port Nepean. The first CO was LTCOL (later BRIG) Brian Vale. The first RSM was WO1 Peter Short. The barracks at Portsea were officially named Norris Barracks on 5 Aug 1986.

On 1 Dec 1995, the School of Army Health became one of the seven Corps Schools that amalgamated to form the Army Logistic Training Centre (ALTC). The last person posted as CO/CI School of Army Health was LTCOL Barry Morgan. Coincidentally, as a CAPT, he was the Project Officer for the move of the School from Healesville to Portsea. The last Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) of the School was WO1 Wayne Brown.

The School site became an ALTC campus and was designated as the Army Logistic soah officer march outTraining Centre, Norris Barracks. Trade Training Wing was redesignated was Health Services Wing and was transferred to an ALTC training division titled Personnel Support Division (PSD). Later, Advanced Training Wing was retitled as Health Operations Platoon and transferred to Integrated Logistic Division (ILD) along with similar wings from other logistic Corps Schools. ILD conducts logistic officer, WO and NCO promotion training.

In August 1997, the Minister of Defence announced that Army Health Training would Steigher farewellmove from Portsea to the Albury Wodonga area in northern Victoria. The Army was tasked to hand over the property to the Defence Estate Organisation (DEO) by February 1998.

In December 1997, ALTC Norris Barracks Portsea closed its gates as training location. A final parade was held on the grass parade ground at Portsea and a photograph of the occasion graced the cover of the 1997 edition of the Corps magazine PAULATIM. This photograph was later reproduced on page 597 of the Corps History ‘Little by Little’ by M.B. Tyquin.

 

Healesvill 1965HQ PSD and Health Services Wing moved to the ALTC campus at Latchford Barracks, Bonegilla. Health Operations Platoon moved to Gaza Ridge Barracks South Bandiana. Army Dental training was moved to HMAS CERBERUS. The Training Development Staff moved to North Bandiana and later to Bonegilla. The Corps Museum collection was moved to the Army Museum at South Bandiana.

In February 1998, LTCOL Morgan signed the document that formally handed over the Portsea property to DEO. WO2 Gordon Prentice lowered the Australian flag for the final time at Norris Barracks.

Originally the staff that moved to Latchford Barracks, Bonegilla, were located inLast dining in dinner healesville temporary accommodation. Training was conducted in various locations including an old Q store.

During the first six months of 1998 the former School of Military Survey was gutted and rebuilt. In July 1998, the newly refurbished building was renamed the Norris Building. At the opening, COL Ian Lillie, Commandant ALTC, spoke about the continuing link with health training at the previous Schools of Army Health at both Healesville and Portsea. COL Lillie also spoke about the naming of the building where Army health training was conducted as perpetuating the link with MAJGEN Sir Frank Kingsley Norris, KBE, CB, DSO, ED, the driving force behind the establishment of Army health training in a suitable environment.

MA Course Portsea

Today most Corps members will visit AWMA on more that one occasion to undertake a course or whilst on posting. Many significant Corps items are held in the area.

Portsea parade GroundSignificant Corps items that were held by the School of Army Health were moved to the Albury Wodonga Military Area (AWMA). The Queen Mother’s Banner (the RAAMC Banner), the Banner Belt and the Corps Centrepiece are located at the Army Logistic Officers Mess. The Queen Mother’s Sword is located in the Army Logistic Sergeants Mess. Both messes are located in Gaza Ridge Barracks South Bandiana. The duplicate of the King’s Banner is located in the Kinnimonth Building at South Bandiana, which is the site of Army Health Officer, Warrant Officer and NCO promotion training.

Another link with the School of Army Health was established at South Bandiana inrsmaltc 1999. The two iron gates, which stood at the front entrance to Summerleigh Lodge Healesville, had been the site of the Dedication ceremony at the naming of Norris Barracks on 20 July 1983. The gates, known as the Healesville Gates, were removed when the School of Army Health moved to Portsea. Later they formed the seaside entrance to the Army Health Services Sergeants’ Mess at Norris Barracks. When Portsea closed, the Healesville Gates were taken to the 1st Field Hospital in Sydney for safekeeping.

On 4th September 1999, the Healesville Gates were erected in the Memorial Gardens across the road from the Army Museum in Gaza Ridge Barracks South Bandiana. At the official dedication, BRIG P.T.R. (Paul) Buckley, Honorary Head of Corps RAAMC, and the last Director General Army Health Services, spoke about how the School of Army Health had been considered as the ‘home’ of the Corps. With the ‘Healesville Gates’ at the new home of Army health training, perhaps it is time to think of the Albury Wodonga Military Area as the Corps ‘new’ home.


Morgan Border Times
Courtesy Border Times

Gates at Bandianna

Commanding Officers School of Army Health
Rank
Commanding Officer
Location
Dates
Remarks
LTCOL McLennan
LTCOL
W.W. McLellan OBE
Healesville
31.10.51 - 31.08.59
LTCOL Lawes
LTCOL
W.J. Lawes OBE
Healesville
01.09.59 - 17.11.64
LTCOL Hoffman
LTCOL
W.G. Hoffman
Healesville
18,09.64 - 09.04.67
LTCOL Coombes
LTCOL
W.J. Coombe MBE
Healesville
10.04.67 - 05.05.68
MAJ Ruck
MAJ
R.J. Ruck
Healesville
06.05.68 - 30.09.68
Administrated Command
LTCOL Bourke
LTCOL
F. Bourke
Healesville
01.10.68 - 11.05.72
MAJ Ruck
MAJ
R.J. Ruck
Healesville
12.05.72 - 22.07.73
Administrated Command
LTCOL Grant
LTCOL
J.R. Grant
Healesville
28.05.75 - 30.06.76
LTCOL Nolan
LTCOL
R.J. Nolan
Healesville
01.07.76 - 30.06.80
LTCOL Goodchild
LTCOL
B. Goodchild
Healesville
01.07.80 - 22.12.80
LTCOL Coote
LTCOL
K.A. Coote
Healesville
23.12.80 - 09.11.83
LTCOL Hills
LTCOL
P.A.R. Hills
Healesville
04.12.83 - 08.12.85
LTCOL Vale
LTCOL
B.L Vale
Healesville/
Portsea
09.12.85 - 11.12.88
CO during Healesville and Portsea Transition.
LTCOL Allen
LTCOL
R.J. Allen
Portsea
12.12.88 - 14.12.90
LTCOL Van Weedenberg
LTCOL

W.J.A
Van Weerdenburg

Portsea
Jan 91 - Dec 93
LTCOL Gilchrist
LTCOL
J.A.F. Gilchrist
Portsea
Jan 94 - Dec 95
LTCOL Morgan
LTCOL
B. Morgan
Portsea
Jan 96 - Jul 96
PERSONNEL SUPPORT DIVISON ALTC
LTCOL Fletcher LTCOL S. Fletcher Bonegilla Jan 03 - Jan 05 PERSONNEL SUPPORT DIVISON ALTC
Busch LTCOL S. Busch Bonegilla Jan 05 - Nov 05 PERSONNEL SUPPORT DIVISON ALTC
Former member of the RAANC.

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On the 1st August 1996, the School of Army Health establishment positions were
transferred to the ALTC. The CO/CI was posted as the Chief Instructor (later CO/CI) of the Personnel Support Division in the ALTC.

The RSM of the School of Army Health were usually designated as the RAAMC RSM or Corps RSM and were members of the Corps Committee. The list of School of Army Health RSM are shown below:

Regimental Sergeant Majors of the School of Army Health
Rank
Name
Location
Dates
Remarks
Collier
WO1
D.A. Collier Healesville Nov 51 - Apr 54  
Duncan
WO1
A.C. Duncan Healesville Apr 54 - Oct 57  
vintage
WO2
J.J. Rawson Healesville Oct 58 - Jul 58 Image Required
vintage
WO1
E.M. Nobbs Healesville Jul 58 - Jul 60 Image Required
Duncan
WO1
A.C. Duncan Healesville Jul 60 - Apr 61  
vintage
WO1
C. Avery Healesville Apr 61 - Dec 61 Image Required
Duncan
WO1
A.C. Duncan Healesville Jan 62 - Dec 63  
vintage
WO1
E.M. Nobbs Healesville Jan 64 - Mar 64  
Nicholls
WO1
S.E. Nicholls Healesville Mar 64 - Sep 66  
Woods
WO1
W.F. Woods Healesville Sep 66 - Dec 69  
vintage
WO1
B.C. Chandler Healesville Feb 70 - Apr 71 Image Required
steiger
WO1
M.R. Steiger Healesville Apr 71 - Dec 75  
vintage
WO1
T.R. Thompson Healesville Dec 75 - Mar 76 Image Required
Tinning
WO1
N.E. Tinning BEM Healesville Mar 76 - Feb 77  
Harley
WO1
B.M. Harley Healesville Mar 77 - Dec 77  
itstein
WO1
F.R. Itzstein Healesville Dec 77 - Dec 80  
Chapman
WO1
D.W. Chapman Healesville Jan 81 - Dec 82  
dubsky
WO1
R.C.S. Dubsky Healesville Dec 82 - Nov 84  
short
WO1
P.J. Short AM Healesville
Portsea
Nov 84 - Mar 86
Mar 86 - Feb 87
 
Wauer
WO1
U.H. Wauer Portsea Feb 87 - Dec 88  
Dean
WO1
K.R. Dean Portsea Dec 88 - Dec 89 Formerly RAA (Special List) PTI
Kay
WO1
S.R. Kay Portsea Jan 90 - Dec 91
Alterator
WO1
G.J. Alterator Portsea Jan 92 - Dec 94
Bowen
WO1
M.A. Bowen Portsea Jan 95 - May 96 Formerly RAANC - First Female
Brown
WO1
W.R.W. Brown Portsea Jun 96 - Jul 96 PERSONNEL SUPPORT DIVISON ALTC
Knight WO1 J. Knight Bonegilla Jan 01 - Dec 01 PERSONNEL SUPPORT DIVISON ALTC
Murphy WO1 J, Murphy Bonegilla Jan 02 - Jun 04 PERSONNEL SUPPORT DIVISON ALTC - Army School of Administration and Health
Jezza WO1 M. Jesenkovice CSC OAM Bonegilla   Army School of Administration and Health
solomon WO1 P. Solomon     Position of Corps RSM held by WO1 Peter Solomon. WO1 Solomon did not hold the Position of School RSM. The position of School RSM was held by a non RAAMC incumbent.
De Santa-Ana WO1 A. De Santa-ANNA Bonegilla Jan 09 - Army School of Health

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The Corps RSM RAAMC

Traditionally, the RSM of the School was also the Corps RSM. After the transfer of the
School to the ALTC, the RSM of the School of Army Health’s position was used as a
compensator for the RSM Personnel Support Division (PSD) position. In 1998 as part of reduction of WO1 positions in the Army, the RSM PSD position was converted to a CSM position. Head of Corps then appointed WO1 Marion Bowen, RSM 2 HSB, as Corps RSM.

With effect 1st July 2001, the Chief of the Army (CA) Directive 05/01, directed that a Corps Code 62 WO1 position in the ALTC would be designated as the RSM RAAMC position. If there was more than one RAAMC Corps Code 62 WO1 posted to the ALTC then the Commandant of the ALTC and the Head of Corps (HOC) would select one to be the Corps RSM. Since 1st July 2001, the RSM PSD has been ‘double-hatted’ as RSM RAAMC.

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