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Research Guides


Commonwealth Government Records about South Australia


Administration since Federation

The first Commonwealth Department of Defence [I] was established in 1901 and was responsible for naval and military defence and defence policy. However in 1915 control of naval defence was transferred to the newly created Department of the Navy. In 1921 the Department of Defence [I] and Department of the Navy were amalgamated to form a new Department of Defence [II], which was responsible for all defence matters including naval, army and air defence, munitions and civil aviation.

In 1938–39 defence was reorganised, and the Department of Defence [II] was replaced by a number of departments including Civil Aviation, Supply and Development (for munitions and defence supplies), Air, Army, Navy and Defence Co-ordination (for defence policy, financial and administrative coordination).

In 1973 the three service departments – Air, Army and Navy – were abolished and their functions passed to the Department of Defence [III].

The Regional Secretariat was established in South Australia as a result of the recommendations of a committee, headed by Major General FG Hassett, which reported in 1970. The geographical command concept – where the command headquarters was responsible for the conduct of military operations, training and provision of logistic support – was abandoned in favour of a command system. The Central Command Secretary's Branch was reorganised to provide financial and administrative support for the defence elements located in South Australia.

Headquarters Central Command was reorganised into two functional units: Headquarters, 4 Military District – to act as a local office to administer Army property, effect enlistments and discharges, and liaise with local civilian authorities; and Headquarters, 4 Field Force Group – to command the regular Army and Citizen Military Force units in South Australia.

The two units were serviced by the registry of the Regional Office. From 1976 the Regional Office assumed responsibility for civilian personnel employed by the Army, Navy and Air Force. Headquarters 4 Field Force Group was disbanded in November 1978 and command responsibility was assumed by Headquarters 4 Military District.

The principal matters dealt with by the Department of Defence, Regional Office, South Australia were defence (including civil defence), defence production and defence purchasing.

On 1 December 1992 the civil and military administrative functions were combined to be administered by the new Defence Centre, Adelaide.

SELECTED SERIES RELATING TO DEFENCE ADMINISTRATION IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Adelaide and Sydney
Recorded by: Headquarters, 4 Military District, Australian Military Forces, Keswick, South Australia
Security classified files, 1905–42 D845
Record of officers' services, No.1 South Australian Company, Royal Australian Artillery, 1906–45 D2231
Miscellaneous papers, 1912–42 AP613/4
Mobilisation and defence plans, 4th Military District, 1914–42 AP613/9
Pay register cards, 1921–71 D586
General correspondence, 1930–46 AP613/10
Correspondence files, 1931–64 D844
4th Military District, 4th District Base Defence Scheme, 1938 AP1027/19
Alphabetical register of army enlistments, South Australia and Northern Territory 1939–56 D3598
Security classified general correspondence, 1942–46 AP613/1
Sydney
Recorded by: Headquarters, Central Command, South Australia, Australian Military Forces
Maps, plans, drawings, Engineers Branch, 1938–73 D5540
Canberra and Sydney
Recorded by: Department of Defence, Regional Office, South Australia
Correspondence files, Defence Regional Office, 1973– D491
SELECTED ITEMS RELATING TO DEFENCE ADMINISTRATION IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Melbourne
Defence matters – South Australia, 1901 B168, 1901/5527
Adelaide
Tenure of South Australia military buildings, 1903–49 A877, CL2000 part 1A
Tenure of South Australia military buildings, 1903–49 A877, CL2000 part 1B
Tenure of South Australia military buildings, 1903–49 A877, CL2000 part 1C
Tenure of South Australia military buildings, 1903–49 A877, CL2000 part 1D
Tenure of South Australia military buildings, 1903–49 A877, CL2000 part 1E
Tenure of South Australia military buildings, 1903–49 A877, CL2000 part 1F
Progress reports of the Royal Commission on Navy and Defence Administration, 1918 D845, 1918/75

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Chapter 6
Defence