Army Birthday Message from Chief of Army 2024

1 March 2024


Today is the one hundred and twenty third birthday of the Australian Army. 

On this important day, I offer my respect and admiration to all whom have served in our Army across the arc of our history – to those serving today … and this birthday, especially to our veterans.

Service in our Army connects and unites us across generations.

Today more than a quarter of a million Australians wear – or have worn – the slouch hat and Rising Sun badge … proudly continuing the tradition established since the Australian Army was formed in 1901.

These have become more than just military embellishments: they have become national symbols.

A birthday is always an occasion for celebration with family and friends. Let us enjoy that today.

But - given the nature of our profession - celebration is inextricably linked to commemoration and reflection.

81,746 Australian soldiers have made the ultimate sacrifice wearing our badge.

We will never forget them.

Since our last birthday, two events have given me pause to reflect on who we are and what we aspire to be.

Firstly, we recovered the remains of five Australian soldiers who fell at Fromelles in France and matched their DNA to their families in Australia.

It is one hundred and seven years since they fell, far from their families and far from our shores, and I am proud that we were able to bring them home.

Secondly, a truly remarkable expedition discovered the wreck of the Montevideo Maru which was sunk by enemy action near the Philippines in 1942.

Nearly one thousand Australian service personnel, mostly Australian soldiers, perished in that tragic incident.

Its remarkable discovery – indeed it lay deeper than the Titanic – meant a great deal to thousands of relatives in Australia.

I am proud that our Army was associated with this humbling act of dedication and remembrance.

And so as I reflect on these events, I am reminded of the enduring commitment that our Army makes to those who wear our uniform – once a soldier, always a soldier. Our commitment has no expiry date, be it one year or one hundred and seven years.

The Australian Army is a national institution, a profession and a fighting force.

To those of you who serve in our Army today, I ask that you reach out to a veteran and celebrate Army’s birthday with them. 

Listen to the stories of their service and share your own. Connect through our common purpose and mateship.

My thanks to you and your families for all you are doing in support of our mission.

Happy birthday Army. 

An Army in our community. An Army for our nation.