The 3rd Battalion and the Drill Hall

frank Hinder Drill HallFrank Hinder (1906 – 1992) Drill Hall Civic 1942 watercolour  Collection Australian National University

After World War I there was  a series of reorganisations which saw the emergence of the regional militia including the Werriwa Regiment, numbered the 3rd Battalion, recruited from the Canberra region and southern New South Wales.

The Battalion was based in this building in 1940 and 1941 and was called up for full-time duty in October 1941. On 18 May 1942 the battalion left Australia for Papua. By 5 September 1942 it was on the Kokoda Track. The Battalion fought for 100 days across the Owen Stanley Ranges to Gona. The Battalion made a significant contribution to the defense of Australia. It fought throughout the whole campaign without relief, the only battalion to do so. The casualties suffered in that campaign were so great that the 3rd Battalion (the Werriwa Regiment AMF) was absorbed into the 2/3rd Battalion AIF.

The Battalion  was re-raised in Canberra in 1948 as a Citizens Military Forces battalion and in 1960 became C Company of the Pentropic Battalion which covered the whole of New South Wales. In 1965 it reverted to the 3rd Battalion of the Royal New South Wales Regiment. Queens and Regimental Colours were presented in September 1966. During this period the Battalion was headquartered in this Drill Hall.

The Drill Hall was handed over to the Australian National University on 9 July 1969.

For a number of years a cabinet at the Drill Hall Gallery contained memorabilia from the Kokoda Campaign. The artefacts are now in ANU archives.

The Drill Hall Gallery has housed several plaques, photographs and a badge commemorating the 3rd Battalion’s 1942 militia service on the Kokoda Trail, Papua New Guinea.

memorabilia Kokoda plaques


Veteri Frondescit Honore, 3, 3rd Battalion Werriwa Regt. Presented by Major J.F. Bishop, The Royal New South Wales Regiment.
Commemorative shield, Veteri Frondescit Honore, 3, 3rd Battalion Werriwa Regt. Kokoda Trail 1942, Port Moresby 1942. Presented by Major J.F. Bishop, RFD, ED.
The Australian National University commemorates the 3rd Battalion (the Werriwa Regiment) as the first occupants of the Drill Hall.
Regimental Plaque, 3rd Battalion. Royal N.S.W. Regiment, 3, Veteri Frondescit Honore. Presented by Captain Bede Tongs MM, President, 3rd Infantry Battalion AMF Association.

memorabilia Kokoda images


Horse-drawn transport of 3rd Infantry Battalion at Dapto (NSW), December 1939. Photograph by George Virtue. Left to Right: Brakeman, Driver J. Priestly, Driver H. Chapman, Driver S. Mauger.

Private Ken Laycock, Railway Square, Sydney, 10 February 1940.


Untitled, inscribed on reverse side: 3rd Militia Bn Officers in camp, probably just pre-war Sydney. Presented by C. Kennedy.

Trail to Goldi River

3rd Infantry Battalion on the Kokoda Track.


Port Moresby to Gona Beach: 3rd Australian Infantry Battalion 1942. Compiled by Colin Kennedy. 157 pages. Typeset and printed by The Practical Group, Canberra, 1992.

Updated:  26 July 2018/ Responsible Officer:  DHG Director/ Page Contact:  Drill Hall Gallery