In early 1949, the Director of Infantry,
Brigadier I. R. Campbell CBE, DSO wrote to the
Battalions of the Regiment asking for
suggestions for a Regimental Badge. Several
designs were submitted and the one eventually
accepted was that submitted by 1 RAR then
serving at Ingleburn, NSW. In the early stages
of the preparation of a design, it was intended
to be the badge of the First Battalion only, but
subsequently it was decided that battalions of
the Regiment would wear the one badge.
On the 10th of March 1949, it was announced
"His Majesty, King George the Sixth had been
graciously pleased to give his approval to the
title "Royal" being appended to the title of the
In the final form, the badge was the combination
of many suggestions put forward by several
persons. Those involved in 1 RAR's design were
Lieutenant Colonel J. L. A. Kelly DSO, Commanding
Officer of the Battalion, Major T. E. Archer,
Major K. B. Thomas MC and Sergeant E. J.
O'Sullivan, the Intelligence Sergeant. The
Intelligence Section of the Battalion prepared
sketches and assisted in the design.
In deciding upon the various heraldic devices
for inclusion in the motif of the badge, an
early intention was to incorporate the
identification signs of the AIF Divisions that
contributed personnel to 34 Australian Infantry
Brigade for the occupation forces in Japan. This
proved impracticable because the Sixth Division
had a kangaroo, the Seventh Division, a
kookaburra and the Ninth Division, a platypus;
all surmounting a boomerang. At this stage it
became quite clear that the badge was to become
a Regimental Badge and not a Battalion Badge so
it was decided to adopt an animal typically
Australian but different somewhat from those of
the Division signs. A kangaroo was selected and
the heraldic posture of the beast was to be
standing (the Sixth Division kangaroo was
leaping) to prevent a direct connection with a
division tactical sign.
The devices in the Royal Australian Regiment
badge motif have significant meaning.
The kangaroo is uniquely Australian fauna and
universally accepted as an Australian symbol.
The original sketch showed the kangaroo with its
forepaws relaxed but on the badge its forepaws
are outstretched. This occurred because the
die-caster could not achieve proper definition
with the paws hanging.
The boomerang is closely associated with our
Aboriginal people and was also related to the
tactical signs of the Second AIF from which 34
Australian Infantry Brigade was formed.
The Wattle Wreath.
The wattle wreath is a symbolic Australian flora
in bloom and a variation of the laurel wreath,
which is part of many British and Australian
The Crossed Rifles.
The crossed rifles signify the personal weapon
of the Infantryman. The rifles are the type that
were used at the time of the formation of the
Regiment, ie: "Rifle, .303 inch, Short Magazine,
Lee Enfield, (SMLE) Number 1, Mark 3."
The Royal Crown was included because the
regiment bears the title, "Royal".
A motto for the Regiment was also called for and
desirably it had to be original, short and in
English. "Duty First" seemed appropriate and was
selected because, "The unhesitating and
unquestioning performance of his duty is the
fundamental requirement of a soldier." Those who
selected the motto have said, "It is a good
motto for anybody" and they could not then, or
now, think of a better motto for the Royal
Incorporated in the badge of the Regiment is a
great deal of significance and tradition. It is
fundamentally Australian, and includes the
symbol of the Infantry soldier. Thus, with the
motto of Duty First, it symbolises the spirit
and the task of an Australian Infantry Regiment
comprised of Australian Infantrymen.
The Regimental Badge was reproduced on Christmas
cards in 1949 but was not issued as a hat badge
until early 1954 when the new badges, replacing
the AIF Badge, were issued to 2 RAR in Korea.
The Regimental Badge has been worn ever since.
In June 1950, 3 RAR, then serving in Japan, had
four large badges cast out of spent brass shell
cases by members of the Assault Pioneer Platoon
.One badge was sent to each of the three
Battalions in the Regiment; 1 RAR, 2 RAR, 3 RAR
and one was sent to 1 Infantry Brigade
When 1 Infantry Brigade was disbanded at
Holsworthy in 1960 to form Headquarters 1st
Division at Moore Park, the badge was handed
over to 2 RAR, the Battalion resident at
Holsworthy, for safekeeping. On the formation of
4 RAR at Woodside SA in February 1964, this
badge was transferred to that unit.
With further expansion of the Regiment in 1965,
newly formed battalions, investigated the
possibility of having similar badges cast. At
this early date it was not financially practical
and the new battalions temporarily displayed a
smaller version of the Regimental Badge with a
dull finish. Later, the remaining battalions of
the Regiment acquired large crests.
5/7 RAR displays two crests; those belonging to
5 RAR and 7 RAR. The crest of 5 RAR was
presented to the Battalion by the 2/5 Infantry
Battalion Association in November 1967 and the
crest of 7 RAR was presented by the 2/7 Infantry
Battalion Association on 3 September 1966.
The crest displayed by 6 RAR was partially cast
using spent artillery and small arms cases fired
during the Battle of Long Tan, South Vietnam on
18 August 1968. The crest was cast at the Stuart
Copper Refinery, Townsville in 1968.
The crest of 8 RAR was presented by 4RAR on the
occasion of 8 RAR's first birthday on 8 August
1967. This crest was cast from spent shell cases
fired by V Battery, Royal Artillery and Dragon
Battery, Royal Artillery in support of 4 RAR
operations in Sarawak, Borneo from April 1966 to
The crest of 9 RAR was cast by the Naval
Dockyard Foundry, Serabawang, Singapore in 1970
using the 1 RAR crest less the crown, as a
diecast. The King's Crown was then replaced with
the Queen's Crown.
Researched from the Infantry Centre Library
Archives by WO2 R.W. Jones MM and transcribed
from "The Field", December 1986.
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