The history of military cadets in Australia dates back to 1941, when the Australian Army Cadets (AAC) was officially established by the Australian government. The AAC was initially set up as a voluntary youth organisation that aimed to teach young Australians basic military knowledge and skills, and to encourage them to take an interest in their country's armed forces.
In 1941, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) also established an organisation called the Air Training Corps (ATC), which aimed to train young people in basic aircraft maintenance and piloting skills. This was followed by the introduction of the Royal Australian Navy Cadets (RANC) program in 1944, which was intended to give young Australians a better understanding of nautical matters and encourage interest in the Navy.
All three cadet programs operated successfully throughout the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, providing thousands of young people with an opportunity to learn important military skills while they were still at school. Unfortunately, in 1975 the Australian government decided to close down all three cadet programs due to budget constraints.
One of the main reasons behind the Australian government's decision to close down cadets in 1975 was its focus on cutting public spending. In an effort to reduce their budget deficit, the government decided to focus their resources on other areas, such as health and education. Additionally, at this time there was a drop in recruiting numbers for military personnel and the government felt that closing down cadets would help to reduce this.
Fortunately for young Australians, in 1976 the Australian government decided to reform cadets, re-establishing all three branches of military cadet organisations. Since then, these programs have been operating successfully and providing young people with the opportunity to learn essential military skills and gain a better understanding of the Australian Defence Force.
The current Australian Defence Force Cadets (ADFC) scheme provides young Australians aged between 12 and 18 with the opportunity to learn military skills and gain an understanding of Australia’s Defence Force. The program is broken down into three branches: Army, Air and Navy cadets.
By joining a cadet program, young Australians can gain essential military skills while also developing important personal qualities such as leadership and self-discipline. It is no wonder then that military cadets remain one of the most popular youth programs Australia has to offer.
From its inception in 1941 right through to the present day, military cadets have played an important role in providing young Australians with opportunities to learn essential skills while gaining a better understanding of the Australian Defence Force.