1 RAR Association Incorporated

Customs & Traditions

Customs and Traditions

The Green Puggaree

The green puggaree was first worn by 1 RAR during the Malayan Emergency in 1959-60. The Australian Army was unable to supply 1RAR with new puggarees so a local tailor (Mr. Mohavved Beseek) was commissioned by the unit to supply them made from the same soft green material as the British Force's green shirts. The CO, LtCol Bill Morrow decided that for uniformity, the green puggaree was to be worn by all battalion members. These puggarees became a symbol of 1RAR and are worn by the battalion to this day.

Shovel Drill

In March 1953 at Camp Casey in Korea, at a farewell to troops returning to Australia, the Commanding Officer LtCol M. Austin, DSO commented on how sloppy he considered the rifle drill. He then proceeded to demonstrate to the acting RSM W02 L.E. Brennen how the movements were supposed to be performed. The Commanding Officer used a shovel for the demonstration. There was certain disagreement between the two on how the drill should be performed so the two adjourned to the Sgt’s Mess where the CO was drilled by the acting RSM before the mess members in a variety of drill movements.

On the completion of his drill, LTCOL Austin decreed the shovel be packed and returned to Australia and was to be held in the SGT’s Mess. It was to be used upon the first visit to the SGT’s Mess by the incoming Commanding Officer. The actual drilling of the CO is carried out by the junior CSM and on completion, the CO’s name is inscribed on the handle of the shovel.

Blue Beer

It is not certain when the tradition of a welcome drink of Blue Beer was started in 1RAR but it is known that the tradition dates back at least 40 years. It is believed, that the tradition began as a welcome to the officers of the Battalion on the annual visit by officers of 1RAR to the 1RAR Sergeants’ Mess. On these occasions, each officer’s respective SNCO was ready with a blue beer on their arrival and they both drank together. Everyone in the Mess drank a beer (or a beverage of their choosing) with the blue die added. It was also a tradition that as the officers departed the Mess they got to poke their tongue out at the RSM to prove they were ‘blue’.