The History of the 3rd Brigade

Raising of the Brigade for World War I

In response to the escalating war in Europe the 1st Australian Imperial Force (AIF) was raised to provide a division for the defence of the British Empire in August 1914.
The 1st Division comprised three infantry brigades and a artillery brigade, together with a cavalry regiment and supporting troops.

The three infantry brigades were designated 1st, 2nd and 3rd Brigades. The first two infantry brigades were drawn from New South Wales and Victoria respectively. 3rd Infantry Brigade comprised four infantry battalions: the 9th from Queensland, the 10th from South Australia, 11th from Western Australia and the 12th from Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania. Hence 3rd Brigade became known as the "All Australian Brigade".


Shortly after it was raised, the 3rd Brigade embarked for Egypt where it conducted training. On 25 April 1915 the Brigade was the first formation to land on the beaches at Gallipoli. During the Gallipoli campaign the Brigade was committed to the bloody battles of Suvla Bay, Lone Pine and Sari Bair before being evacuated to Egypt.


After recuperating, taking in reinforcements and retraining in Egypt the Brigade departed for France in early 1916. It spent three years fighting on the Western Front. During that time it earned battle honours for the Somme, Pozieres, Bullecourt, Ypres, Menin Road, Passchendale, Hazebrouk, Amiens and the Hindenburg Line.

Between the World Wars

After World War I the AIF was disbanded and 3rd Brigade became a Militia formation, with its headquarters based in Brisbane. In 1921 the Brigade was reorganized and relocated to Adelaide as part of the 4th Division.

Outbreak of World War II

As the Brigade was a Militia formation it did not become part of the 2nd AIF when it was formed in 1939. However in late 1941, with the outbreak of war in the Pacific, the Brigade was mobilized and assigned the task of defending Darwin. In March 1943 it was then reassigned as the Land Headquarters Reserve and redeployed to Adelaide. The Brigade was disbanded in April 1944.

Re-established for service in Vietnam

The Brigade was re-established in late 1967 as part of the expansion of the Army during the Vietnam Conflict. It was designated '3rd Task Force' and was located at Lavarack Barracks in Townsville. By 1971 the Task Force comprised B Squadron 3rd Cavalry Regiment, 4th Field Regiment Royal Australian Artillery, 3rd Field Engineer Regiment, three infantry battalions - 1st, 2nd and 4th Battalions of The Royal Australian Regiment, and supporting arms and services. Although the Task Force was not deployed to Vietnam as a formation most of its units completed one or more tours of duty in that country.

Post Vietnam Era

In 1973 after the withdrawal of Australian troops from Vietnam, the 3rd Task Force was re-organized and once again became part of the 1st Division. It was re-designated '3rd Brigade' in 1981. In 1988 the Brigade undertook its first operational deployment since the Vietnam War when troops were deployed in cooperation with the Royal Australian Navy as a response to a coup in Fiji.

Peace Operations Era

Beginning with the deployment of a Battalion Group to Somalia in December 1992, the first unit sized deployment by Australia since Vietnam, there have been numerous operational deployments comprising elements of the brigade. They are listed below:

  • In 1992 a battalion group was deployed for 17 weeks as part of the US led coalition called United Task Force (UNITAF)
  • In 1993 an infantry platoon and a troop of Black Hawk helicopters were deployed to Cambodia in support of the UN peace keeping force and national elections.
  • In mid 1994 a 300 strong medical team deployed to Rwanda
  • In late in 1994 another force from the Brigade deployed overseas to Bougainville in support of the peace talks between the Papua New Guinea Government and the people pf Bougainville
  • In late 1999 most of the Brigade deployed on INTERFET to East Timor.
Increased Tempo

Since INTERFET, the Brigade has been involved in a constant series of deployments to many countries. The Brigade has contributed forces to contingents serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga and Fiji as well as individuals to many other operations around the world.

Past Commanders 3rd Brigade

COMD 3rd Brigade, 1st AIF

Aug 1914 - Dec 1916: COL E.G Sinclair Maclagan
Dec 1916 - May 1919: BRIG H.G. Bennett, CB, CMG, DSO

COMD 3rd Brigade

Jan 1916 - Mar 1918: COL G.A. Ferguson, DSO, VD
May 1921 - Apr 1926: BRIG R.W. Leane, CB, CMG, DSO, VD
May 1926 - Sep 1929: COL J.C.F. Slane, DSO, VD
Sep 1929 - Dec 1936: COL W.F. Brownsworth, MC
Dec 1936 - Apr 1942: BRIG A.R. Allen
May 1942 - Feb 1943: BRIG R. King, CBE, DSO
Feb 1943 - Apr 1944: BRIG R.E. Winning

Commander 3rd Task Force

Nov 1967 - May 1970: BRIG E. Logan, CBE
Jun 1970 - Jun 1972: BRIG D.S. Thompson, MC
Jul 1972 - Jul 1974: BRIG J.J. Shelton, DSO, MC
Jul 1974 - Jan 1976: BRIG N.R. Charlesworth, DSO
Jan 1976 - Jan 1978: BRIG A.W.F. Rofe
Jan 1978 - Dec 1979: BRIG R.L. Burnard, AM
Dec 1979 - Dec 1981: BRIG N.R. Smethurst, MBE
Dec 1981 - Dec 1982: BRIG J.P.A. Deighton, MC

Commander 3rd Brigade

Dec 1982 - Dec 1984: BRIG M.P. Blake, AM, MC
Dec 1984 - Dec 1986: BRIG M.J. Harris, MC
Dec 1986 - Dec 1988: BRIG P.M. Arnison
Dec 1988 - Dec 1990: BRIG J.M. Connolly
Dec 1990 - Dec 1992: BRIG M.J. Keating
Dec 1992 - Dec 1994: BRIG P.J. Abigail
Dec 1994 - Dec 1996: BRIG M.G. Smith, AM
Dec 1996 - Dec 1998: BRIG P.F. Leahy, AM
Dec 1998 - Dec 2000: BRIG M. Evans, DSC, AM
Dec 2000 - Dec 2002: BRIG M.A. Kelly, AM
Dec 2002 - Dec 2004: BRIG D.L. Morrison, AM
Dec 2004 - Dec 2006: BRIG M.D. Slater, DSC, CSC
Dec 2006 - Dec 2008: BRIG J.G. Caligari, DSC, AM