Brief History of the Regiment
On the 7th of July 1949 the 1st Australian Armoured Car Squadron was renamed the 1st Armoured Regiment. The main Battle Tanks that have seen service in the Regiment have been the Churchill, the Centurion Mk.5, the Leopard AS1 and now the M1A1 Abrams. Various other vehicles including the Ferret Scout Car, the Saracen APC, M113A1 and the M548 Tracked Load Carrier have been utilised in the unit in surveillance, support and command roles. The 1st Armoured Regiment’s first home was Kapyong Barracks at Puckapunyal; which in November 1981 was changed to Robertson Barracks; named after LTGEN Sir Horace Robertson; a former Light Horse and armoured commander.
The Centurion tank was introduced into service early in 1952 and served up until the Leopard arrived in 1977, It saw active service in South Vietnam from 1968-71. The last squadron to change over to Leopard was B Squadron in late 1977. The last of the Centurions left the Regiment in the same year. Over the period 1977 to the present day, regimental personnel have been involved in most major Peace Keeping Operations including Namibia, Somalia, Cambodia, Rwanda, MFO Sinai and East Timor and more recently active service in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2016-17, the unit deployed its Regimental Headquarters for the first time to command Task Force Taji IV in Iraq.
On the 13 of November 1979, a black Leopard MA0163 TPR Paratus was enlisted into the unit as Regimental Mascot. TPR Paratus was housed at the Melbourne Zoo and shipped up to Puckapunyal for occasional ceremonial activities. He did not make the trip to Darwin; however, in October 2011 a new mascot, a Lion was enlisted as M8246874 TPR Leo Paratus into the unit; he is housed at Crocodylus Park in Darwin and attended most parades held by the regiment.
The Regiment moved to Darwin in July 1995 as part of the 1st Brigade redeployment. The Regiment settled into Chauvel Lines in the new Robertson Barracks and Mt Bundy became its new training area. The Regiment has now re-equipped with the Abrams M1A1 AIM SA Tank ASLAV, M113AS4 and M88 ARV. In 2014 the regiment was re rolled into an Armoured Cavalry Regiment with Tank, Cavalry, APC, and Support SQNS.
In anticipation of a unit move to RAAF Base Edinburgh, SA; D Squadron (APC) was formed in 2014 to establish an on the ground presence in that location. In 2017 the rest of the unit moved to Adelaide and on Cambrai Day, the new lines were officially named after LTGEN Sir Harry Chauvel. The mascot, CPL Leo Paratus has not made the trip to Adelaide and the unit is currently searching for a suitable replacement.
The APC’s have been returned to the Infantry and the unit now consists of a tank squadron (B Sqn) and two ASLAV squadrons (A and C Sqns).