Group visit to the Australian Army Infantry Museum, Singleton, 29 September 2019

Military History Society of NSW group visit to the Australian Army Infantry Museum, Singleton, 29 September 2019

The latest event in the Society’s excursion program was a group visit on Sunday, 29 September 2019 to the Australian Army Infantry Museum at Singleton, 200 kilometres north-west of Sydney. A sizeable party of Society members climbed aboard the private bus driven by our President in York Street, Sydney CBD at 8:00 am. The chilly morning turned into a beautiful spring day as we proceeded up the Pacific Highway and other routes to arrive at Singleton just before 11:00 am.

The museum is located alongside Lone Pine Barracks, an Australian Army base hosting the Australian Army School of Infantry and other army support services.

On arrival we were treated to a warm reception from the AAIM’s assistant manager Warrant Officer Warren Barnes, who led us on an informative and entertaining tour of the facility. 

The museum has a long history. Starting as a small arms collection at the School of Musketry pre-1920, it expanded with each subsequent commitment of Australian infantry forces. In 1965 the collection was renamed the Royal Australian Infantry Corps Museum and in 1973 it was relocated to Singleton with the Infantry Centre. It became part of the Army History Unit in 1998.

Opened in 2012, the current state-of-the-art complex is divided into two spaciously laid-out levels. Ground floor exhibitions focus on the chronological history of infantry deployments from the colonial Sudan contingent of 1885 to the world wars to contemporary times. On the mezzanine level, displays illustrate the evolution of small arms and associated tactics as the infantryman’s ‘tools of the trade’.

Throughout the display areas, ambient light is slightly dimmed to enhance visibility of the well-lit display cases with their handy exhibit labels.

The small arms collection is amazing, including large numbers of rifles, pistols, sub-machine guns, light machine guns, ammunition and grenades from successive periods of history, even a pair of Gatling guns. Various artillery pieces, heavier guns, anti-tank weapons, several grades of mortars and ordinance are also exhibited. Equally impressive is the museum’s large collection of dress and field uniforms and kit. In some cases uniforms, helmets and equipment from different periods are juxtaposed to show the evolution of infantry operations and tactics over time. In one display case rifles and machine guns are sectioned to expose the workings of their internal mechanisms. And then there is the complete Iroquois helicopter, or “Huey”, which proved popular with our group and other visitors.

After a couple of hours which passed too quickly, we settled down for lunch at the museum’s excellent Lone Pine cafĂ© before lingering in the gift shop stocked with books, DVDs, souvenirs, militaria, headwear and items of clothing. The consensus back on the bus was that it had been a very rewarding experience.

The AAIM is an indispensable destination for anyone interested in Australian or world military history, and deserves to be better known. It is highly recommended. For more information visit the museum’s website.

Presented below is a sample of photographs taken by members of our group on the day.

The personal effects of Private Alan Mather, who died near Ploegsteert, Belgium in 1918


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