"Every Army marches to the tune of its customs and traditions. The customs and traditions of the Australian Army reflect the often glorious legacies that define the Army of today. They are visible acknowledgements of the history that has shaped the character, the values and the pride of Australia's modern Army and those who serve in its ranks."
Lieutenant General David Hurley, AO, DSC, Vice Chief of the Defence Force
Looking Forward, Looking Back - Customs and Traditions of the Australian Army explores the Australian Army's rich and proud history. Our Army's customs and traditions are far from static; they are dynamic as they evolve and adapt just like the Army itself. More than anything, they instil a strong sense of belonging in our Diggers. The teamwork, pride, discipline and respect of the past continue to inspire our present modern day Army.
The Australian Army boasts a broad variety of traditions, some of which belong to the Service as a whole, others to a particular corps, regiment or rank. These customs and traditions vary: some are solemn, others are humorous and still others incorporate the rules of social etiquette, manners and style.
Many of the Australian Army's customs and traditions are derived from the battle tactics and fighting attire of old. Some of the drill movements seen on today's parade ground, were originally practiced by soldiers in battle. Various elements of the Aussie soldier's uniform had practical uses in combat and some customs retain their original use as they did hundreds of years ago.
While the ever-changing modern military environment means that soldiers continue to look forward, looking back to the Australian Army's customs and traditions serves as a constant and reassuring reminder of past victories and how far we have traveled.
Looking Forward, Looking Back was written by Christopher Jobson, a Vietnam Veteran who discharged after 30 years of professional soldiering. In his final years of service Chris served as the Army's Regimental Sergeant-Major, Ceremony and Protocol. His fascinating compilation of customs and traditions is complimented with a wonderful array of photographs and illustrations.
Looking Forward, Looking Back, with a foreword written by Vice Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General David Hurley will ensure that the military heritage that created the foundations of the fighting force of today is not lost over time.