Royal Regiment Of Australian Artillery

150th Anniversary
01 August 1871-2021 

The Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery, referred to as the Royal Australian Artillery (RAA), is a Regiment of the Australian Army descended from the original colonial artillery units prior to Australia's federation in 1901. Australia's first guns were landed from HMS Sirius and a small earthen redoubt built on Middle Head, to command the approaches to Sydney Cove, with the fort and guns completed in 1801.

Middle Head, Sydney Harbour

Setting Gun into position

Original Harbour Defence

The deployment of these guns represents the origins of artillery in Australia. These and subsequent defences, as well as field guns, were operated by marines and the soldiers of infantry regiments stationed in Australia. Unlike their British and Canadian equivalents, there are no regiments of horse artillery in the order of battle of the Royal Australian Artillery.

The first British Royal Artillery unit arrived in Australia in 1856 and began a succession of gunner units that garrisoned Australia, until the withdrawal of the British forces in 1870. This resulted in the raising of the Victorian Artillery Corps in Melbourne in 1870 and the New South Wales Artillery in Sydney on 1 August 1871.

The First World War saw the raising of 60 field, 20 howitzer, and two siege batteries along with the heavy and medium trench mortar batteries.

Until 19 September 1962 the Australian Artillery was referred to as the 'Royal Australian Artillery', however, on this date Queen Elizabeth II granted the RAA the title of;

'The Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery'.

The Australian Regular Army came into being in 1947, while prior to this artillery units were mainly militia based. The permanent artillery consisted of one field battery, 'A' Field Battery - which now perpetuates the New South Wales Artillery, HQ P Anti-Aircraft Battery with 1st, 2nd and 3rd AA Cadres under command, the independent 4th and 5th AA Cadres, HQ 1st, 2nd and 3rd Heavy Brigades and the 1st to 13th Heavy Batteries.

Prior to WW2, heavy artillery, later called coast artillery units, were established at strategic locations around the coastline. These units were progressively phased out by 1962. During WW2, the RAA raised in excess of 70 regiments of field, medium, anti-tank, anti-aircraft and survey artillery, and in excess of 200 anti-aircraft and coast artillery batteries with their attendant anti-aircraft group or fire command headquarters in the fixed defences.


Many saw action in the Middle East, Malaya and Southwest Pacific theatres, with two field regiments, one anti- tank regiment, one independent anti-tank battery, an anti-aircraft battery and two coast batteries being captured by the Japanese in Singapore, Ambon, Timor and New Britain while serving as part of the 8th Division.

When 1 RAR deployed to Vietnam in May 1965 with fire support initially provided by 161st Field Battery RNZA,

in September 1965, 105th Field Battery arrived to provide additional fire support. With the expansion of the Australian force to two Battalion Groups in June 1966, the remainder of the Regiment, less 101st Field Battery, deployed to Vietnam accompanied by 103rd Field Battery.The other Field Batteries, 106,107,108, 102,104 and “A” Battery also deployed to Vietnam over the years to 1972.


In August 1966, the regiment took part in the Battle of Long Tan in support of D Company, 6 RAR with the regiment firing 3198 rounds in three  hours of battle.

The present School of Artillery (completed in 1998) is located in Puckapunyal in central Victoria and maintains modern training facilities. The School of Artillery is co-located with the Australian Army's Headquarters Combined Arms Training Centre. 53rd Battery, Royal Australian Artillery supports courses run by the School of Artillery.

In January 2011, the field regiments and medium regiment were reorganised, with the regiments and batteries renamed with the word "field" and "medium" no longer appearing in their titles.

The M777 is the latest artillery piece to be employed by the Australian Army. The M777 replaces the L119 105mm light gun and the M198 155mm medium gun in Royal Australian Artillery units.

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