Decades of Change

Gunners' Timeline

This timeline highlights selected Gunner History over the decades ending with 2016.





1346 Battle of Crecy bombards "which with fire throw little balls to frighten and destroy horses"

Nov 1346 Seige of Calais by Edward III using cannon


26 May 1716 Royal Artillery Day - Duke of Marlborough's legacy in the creation of a permanent corps instead of raising artillery trains ad hoc for emergencies. COL Albert Borgard, a Dane became the first regimental colonel.


Jan 1796 Gov Hunter requested cannon & carriages from the wrecked Sirius to be transported from Norfolk Island to Sydney. Gov Macquarie moved 4 cannon to South Head as signal guns; one later was moved to Macquarie Place during the 1880s where it is today.

HMS Supply (2) offloaded some guns prior to a trip to South Africa


15/4/1806 LT Minchin temporary appointment as the colony’s Artillery and Engineer Officer provided “it does not interfere with his duty as Adjutant NSW Corps.”

21 Oct 1805 Dawes Point Battery fired a Royal Salute in celebration of the victory by Vice Admiral Lord Nelson

  1826 Armaments returned to store excluding those at Dawes Point & Fort Macquarie
  1836 SA proclaimed and 2*18 pdr cannon were brought ashore from HMS Buffalo

1856 Macquarie Point Battery . In service 1856-1870. Later demolished to make way for a Tram Depot, then later the Sydney Opera House.

Fort Denison ; Fort, Barracks and Martello tower built In service 1856-1870; some 32-pdr SBML are still in position today.

Kirribilli Battery established; located in the grounds of what is now Admiralty House; In service 1856-1870.

14 Oct 1856 No3 Coy 7 Bn RA landed in Sydney CAPT Lovell. - Dawes, Pinchgut & others - renamed No3 Bty 12th Brigade

  4 Oct 1866 Thirteenth Match Competition for Garrison Guns was held at Dawes Battery

21 Jun 1876 Regular artillery moved 12-ton guns from stores to Middle Head. Two 18 ton guns lying at Blue's Point have also been assigned to Middle Head.

Volunteer Force Regulation Act 1876 replaced land grants with cash payments.

2nd Bty Permanent Artillery Battery raised.


1886 First course conducted at Gunnery School Middle Head.

Georges Head Upper casemate completed; In service 1886-1920.

LTCOL Spalding appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael & St George.

Three 9 inch 12 ton RML guns at Fort Scratchley dismounted for re-modelling of the fort for BL guns. LT Kingdon & WO Webster took over new barracks at Fort Scratchley from Colonial Architects Dept.

During the annual test of defences, Fort Macquarie guns fired for the last time, having lain idle for years.

27-Mar-1886 LT HP Airey promoted to CAPT.

3-Nov-1886 Establishment of Regt reduced from 500 to 350 all ranks. 30-Dec-1886 Establishment of Regt increased to 374 all ranks.


9-Jan-1916 Evacuation Cape Helles and the Gallipoli Peninsula was completed. In mid Jan the army commenced re-organisation to form two new divisions. The total field batteries increased from 36 to 60 and new howitzer batteries using troops from the ammunition columns increased the how btys from 2 to 15.

Allocation of mortar batteries: Heavy (1 per Div), Medium (1 per Bde) and Light Mortar (1 per Bde) Btys raised. Training was in Egypt except for 3 Div Arty at Larkhill (UK).

8-Mar-1916 105 Howitzer Battery raised in Egypt.

17 Mar 1916 7 Fd Bde was formed at ”The Warren”, Marrickville and sailed on 11 May for England and joined 3rd Division at Larkhill in preparation for deployment in France where they disembarked on 31 Dec.

20-Mar-1916 ANZAC Corps disembark in France.

9-Jul-1916 The Anglo-French Somme Offensive had commenced on 1 Jul. Australians entered the battle

Battle of Pozieres commences. Aircraft were being used to identify targets and flash spotting and sound ranging were emerging as precision methods of acquiring targets.

Issues of reliability of ammunition and fuzes emerged as a major problem of manufacture.

Battles of Fromelles and Pozieres saw Aust Siege Btys fire in support of infantry

18-Nov-1916 Battle of Flers ends the first Somme campaign.

21-Dec-1916 Light Horse capture El Arish, supported by RA guns.

23-Dec-1916 Light Horse Battle of Magdhaba, supported by RA guns.




Aug-1926 1st Anti-Aircraft Bty AGA raised.


31-Jan-1936 1st Field Cadre RAA is redesignated 1st Field Cadre Australian Artillery Regiment when His Majesty granted the title "Royal" to militia Units. The Permanent Artillery became the Royal Australian Artillery Regiment

21-Jul-1936 Prelude to WW2: Advertisement in newspaper for a Gunnery Instructor - modern field artillery methods essential.

8-Aug-1936 Gunner Dinner : 100 past and present officers of the RAA under COL   M   B.   Keatinge gathered for dinner at the Imperial Service Club.



Mar-1946 The artillery component of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF) came from 6 Bty, 7 Div and 2 Mountain Battery and were retitled ‘A' Fd Bty in Japan. 2 Mtn Bty had been formed from ‘A’ Bty gunners in Aug 1943.



1-Jan-1956 1900 h rs Bdr Nevin's gun BTp 105 Fd Bty from Dublin Estate Gun Posn fired the first operational round in support of contact 2 RAR and CTs in the Malayan Emergency.

14-May-1956 Australia in action Sungat, Siput, Malaya.

1956 Searchlight Btys disbanded


May-1966 HQ and 103 Fd Bty, 1 Fd Regt deployed to SVN. 105 Fd Bty was already in country along with 161 Fd Bty, RNZA.

May-1966 Det 131 Div Loc Bty to SVN.

5-Jun-1966 HQ 1 ATF est a b lished SVN.

17-Aug-1966 Mortar attack on Aust base Nui Dat SVN

18-Aug-1966 Battle of Long Tan D Coy 6 RAR, 161 Fd Bty RNZA DS, 1 Fd Regt and US medium guns. 3,198 rounds 105mm and 242 rounds of 155mm fired.

Sep-1966 101 Fd Bty relieved 105 Fd Bty SVN.


1986 Approval to purchase 19 * RBS-70 VLLAD systems.

AN/TPQ-36 Radars commenced service with 131 Div Loc Bty.


16-Feb-2006 Govt approves LAND 17 Project to replace all 105mm & 155mm ordnance.


Horner, DM, The Gunners: a History of Australian Artillery

Oppenheim, P, The Fragile Forts, The Fixed Defences of Sydney Harbour, 1788-1963

Wilson AW Lt RA; The Story of the Gun, 1943

Gunfire Newsletter RAA Association NSW

National Library of Australia Trove Collection