Social Issues

From RAEME to Northfield RSL

Posted on: Mon 9 Apr 2018

The Australian Army Apprentice scheme began in 1948 in Balcombe, Victoria. In 1983 it moved to Latchford Barracks in Bonegilla, Victoria. Teenagers from across Australia enlisted and were trained in a variety of trades. The scheme was eventually phased out, with the last group, the 49th Class of apprentices (known as the eternal Sproggs) graduating in 1995.

Warren Nelling was one of those last graduates, and went on to serve at 1 Sig Regiment and 70/71 Water Transport Squadron, with tours to East Timor and Iraq, and an incredible landing craft journey to New Guinea. He was amazed to discover that the Army had boats!

Warren talks with us about that service, and how his military training has stood him in good stead since leaving the Army. Helping the Northfield RSL ‘come back from the brink’ with only 7 members left, the youngest of whom was in his 70s, has given him added purpose in life, and it’s meant a complete re-think about what’s required to attract younger Veterans to our RSLs.

Interviewer Helen Meyer

Anzac Day 2017 at Northfield RSL. Photo provided by Warren Nelling and used with his written permission.

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