Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Times of War and Peace; Grafton Prepares to Celebrate 100 Years of the Grafton Army Depot

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Times of War and Peace; Grafton Prepares to Celebrate 100 Years of the Grafton Army Depot

Article excerpt

Byline: Clair Morton Clair.Morton@dailyexaminer.com.au

THROUGH a century of fires, flood, war and conflict, the Grafton Army Depot has stood tall.

Within its walls, friendships have blossomed, careers launched and men and women have been taught combat tactics with the potential to save their lives.

Next month marks 100 years since the depot building on the corner of Duke and Oliver Sts was erected, and Grafton Platoon Sergeant Jamie Gordon is planning the celebration of a century.

Having been based at the building for a fifth of its history, he said it was important to take stock of how many lives the army reserve had affected.

"I've seen hundreds of people go through this place just since I've been here, I can't imagine how many more there have been since the beginning," he said.

An article in The Daily Examiner published on December 8, 1915 -- a few days before defence personnel took ownership -- described the architectural aspects of the new drill hall in great detail; everything from the materials used in the flooring to the colours of the architraves and windows.

"Well ventilated, well lighted and roomy, the hall is one of the finest in the state, and the convenience it affords for drilling and instruction in military science will be greatly appreciated by officers and trainees," it reads.

First used by the 15th Light Horse regiment in WW1, the depot was shared with the 41st battalion from 1918 to 1936.

On November 19, 1922, it was announced in The Daily Examiner that the drill hall would be electrically lighted for the finals of an army cadet boxing tournament, noting a few of the fixtures " should be productive of excellent boxing".

When the Second World War broke out the battalion was denied a request to serve as one unit, and its members left Grafton to join other units which would form a part of overseas campaigns.

Those who stayed served at home, conducting coastal security for the region.

The Korean War followed, in which Grafton members served with the Royal Australian Regiment.

It was a conflict that saw the loss of one of Grafton's most decorated soldiers, LT COL Charles Hercules Green. …

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