Australian Defence Force Academy Tour by Cath Hpr

Written by AHQ

5 November 2022

The weekend started off with a tour of ADFA on Friday afternoon. Our host and tour guides were Greg and Lisa, both Air Force Officers (who you may also get an email reply from them when you send in your Posted picture and recipient details).

We met at the Tree of Knowledge. This is the centrepiece of the ADFA precinct, placed directly between the military and university side of the campus. Originally designed as a fountain in the centre of the courtyard, it was replaced with the current tree in 2005.It is a popular meeting point for ADFA activities and event. Fourteen years on the tree stands tall, symbolic of the ADFA trainees grow over their 3 years (4 years for Engineering students) at the Academy.

ADFA – The Australian Defence Force Academy is Australia’s only academic institution with an integrated Defence focus. ADFA partnered with Uni NSW who delivery the courses on offer. As there are more Army members here, they refer to it as the Army Defence Force Academy.

Courses on offer are Bachelors -in Arts, Science, Business, Technology (Aeronautical & Aviation), Computing and Cyber Security and Engineering with Honours (Aeronautical, Civil, Electrical, Mechanical and Naval Architecture).

For the first time ADFA has a ‘blue’ (Air Force) CO. Something that Greg and Lisa were proud of.


Greg explained the importance of the parade ground. It is one of the most sacred locations in the Academy. It is hallowed turf. Historically the parade ground represents where a square was formed and the dead from conflict were taken, marking their sacrifice to war and protecting them.


The parade ground is used specifically for ceremonial purposes such as parades and graduations. The up coming graduation ceremony is on the 19th of December 2022 and can be viewed live streamed.ADFA take overseas military students and their presence is represented in the flying of their flags that are displayed on the parade ground. The flags are raised and lowered each day as part of ceremonial proceedings. The changing of the flags is referred to by Navy as the ‘colours’. Civilians can also complete courses at ADFA.


Trivia question – How many students are at ADFA? Hands up! Jan-Maree may ask this question in the future to win a prize, so you need to know.The answer is 1,100 students.

A new installment to the Parade ground, which only occurred a few weeks ago, is the Navy’s ships bell. This means the manual has to be rewritten to include the ceremonial procedures for it. It is struck/rings every hour.


Leaving this area, we went past the AAFCANS- Army and Air Force Canteen Service which is like a convenience shop established in 1915. This is to provide products such as toothbrushes, toiletries, clothing and other items, of course at convenience store prices. This canteen service has served alongside our troops through both world wars and on many overseas deployments including Korea, Vietnam, and in more recent times East Timor.

We walked to the indoor pool and gym area where an obstacle course was set up over the pool. Something none of us put our hands up to have a go of. We were content to just view it.

Then we moved off to the view the Mess. A place for meals, a ‘brew’ AKA coffee and a place for down time and relaxation. It has three levels-top bar, main and dining area.

Inside the Mess building doors, we saw the score board and their flags of the different units who compete in activities throughout the year. To win the overall score at the end of the year and bragging rights.

Inside is a special memorial set up to remember and honour the fallen members who lost their lives while during their time at ADFA. The flags and service crests appear on the memorial wall with the names of the fallen.


Our last stop was the ADFA lecture theatre. Here Chris (Air Force) presented us with a PowerPoint presentation that is normally shown to the 17-18 year olds that come to consider their options.


We were shown the timetables for Arts Degree course compared with Engineering Course which had a much heavier timetable load. First year Officer Cadets undertake a five-week phase of training know as YOFT Year One Familiarisation Training. Midshipmen Officer Cadets join a few weeks later as they have already received some basic military training as part of their first year in the Navy. The YOFT encompasses drill, weapons training, physical training, first aid, military education and academic training. The training culminates with the return of the second and third year cadets and the conduct of the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) Parade in late February/ early March.

As part of their course Cadets do battlefield study tours to Malaysia, Kokoda, France & Belgium and Papua New Guinea.

Via the presentation we viewed their room/living quarters. They are provided with a bed, desk and wardrobe. Four of them share a common bathroom, which they are required to clean and maintain as well as their room, which are all inspected.

A new approach has been implemented whereby, third years now room along side first years. This is to provide third years with the opportunity to develop leadership skills as well as be a guide and mentor to the new Cadets.

At the end of each academic session, Midshipmen and Officer Cadets move to their respective single service colleges for Single Service Training (SST). Such training prepares them to be officers in the ADF. Army Officer Cadets continue this training for another 12 months after leaving ADFA at the Royal Military College, Duntroon (RMC-D), to later be commissioned as Lieutenants. Most Officer Cadets and Midshipmen undertake six SST periods over a three-year period. However, Midshipmen have already completed 12 months of training in the Navy so they may not be required to train in these periods.

At the completion of the presentation, question time was provided.

The words and values that are instilled into the Cadets are: Service, Courage, Respect, Integrity and Excellence.

Thank you to all our hosts and presenters for sharing and educating us.


What a great write up Cath.  Thank you !

Till next time… Keep spreading the word and happy stitching!


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