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.

Upcoming exhibitions



22 February — 14 April 2019
ANU Drill Hall Gallery

Image: Tony Tuckson, Red-abstract-study 1964 synthetic polymer paint on cardboard, 74 x 63cm. Hassall Collection


Exhibition floor talk with Geoff Hassall, Quentin Sprague and Terence Maloon

22 February 2019, 12pm–1pm
ANU Drill Hall Gallery

Image: Rerrkirrwanga Munungurr, Gumatj Gurtha 2009, earth pigments with synthetic binder on bark, 75 x 54 cm. The Hassall Collection.


First FRIENDS Night with special guest Geoff Hassall

22 February 2019, 5:30pm–7:30pm
ANU Drill Hall Gallery

Image: 1. Jon Molvig, The Bridesmaids (detail) 1956, oil on masonite, 152.4 x 122 cm. 2. Photograph, The Australian 2015


Sebastian Field / Acquaintance Tour (CBR)

23 February 2019, 7.30pm–10pm
ANU Drill Hall Gallery

Image: Sebastian field


LECTURE 1 2019 Christopher Allen: The Perennial Search for Words

3 March 2019, 3.00pm–4.00pm
ANU School of Art and Design Lecture Theatre

Image: Leonardo da Vinci, Vitruvian Man, c. 1490. Pen and ink with wash over metalpoint on paper. 34.6 cm × 25.5 cm.


I hope you get this: RAQUEL ORMELLA

19 April — 9 June 2019
ANU Drill Hall Gallery

Image: Raquel Ormella in her ANCA studio, Canberra April 2018 Photo: Andy Mullens



19 April — 9 June 2019
ANU Drill Hall Gallery

Image: Elizabeth Cross, Moreton Bay Fig 2002, pencil on paper, 57 x 69 cm. Art Gallery of Ballarat Collection.


Ildiko Kovacs: The DNA of colour

21 June — 11 August 2019
ANU Drill Hall Gallery

Image: Ildiko Kovacs,_Raspberry, 201. Oil on card on Plywood, 79.5 x 82.5. Courtesy Martin Browne Contemporary


Savanhdary Vongpoothorn: All that arises

16 August — 13 October 2019
ANU Drill Hall Gallery

Image: Savanhdary Vongpoothorn, Polophony, 2001. Acrylic on perforated canvas 170 x 120 cm.


Steven Harvey: Unrendered room

18 October — 15 December 2019
ANU Drill Hall Gallery

Image: Steven Harvey, Magneto Receptor -Rock Paper Scissors Lover, 2018. Acrylic on compressed cement 180 x 180 cm Courtesy the artist and Liverpool Street Gallery

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