Puckapunyal

One of the best known military camps in Australia, Puckapunyal Camp, widely-known simply as "Pucka", opened in November 1939 to accommodate troops of the 17th Brigade of the 6th Australian Division. It was one of several new camps built for the concentration and training of the Second AIF because existing military facilities were already occupied by militia units. Initially 5,714 hectares of grazing land were compulsory acquired just to the west of the town of Seymour (96 kilometres north of Melbourne); Seymour had been a site for military training since the late 1800s. The camp's name was derived from the name of a large hill within the field training area, today known as Mount Puckapunyal. Puckapunyal is an English rendering of an Aboriginal word the meaning of which is obscure. It has been variously translated as "death to the eagle", "the outer barbarians", "the middle hill", "place of exile", and "valley of the winds". The camp facilities at Puckapunyal were spartan at first - consisting primarily of unlined, windowless corrugated iron huts - but were progressively improved as the war continued. Both AIF and militia units were trained there, and the camp was also home to several Army schools. Puckapunyal remains in use by the Australian Army today and the field training area now encompasses almost 40,000 hectares. Since the Second World War a wide array of units, of both the regular and reserve, have been based at Puckapunyal or used it for training. It remains best known, however, as the home of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps, the first units of which moved there in February 1941.