A brief history of the Australian Army Staff College and the Command and Staff College at Fort Queenscliff.

History of the Army Staff College

On 8 July 1938, the Command and Staff School was officially opened in Sydney. Twenty-nine Major Generals, Brigadiers, and Colonels attended the first course of one-week duration.
In October 1940 the Command and Staff School moved to Duntroon, ACT. The School had its own training staff and was responsible to Army Headquarters. The first courses conducted at Duntroon were of 12 weeks duration.

On 15 April 1942 the School renamed as the Staff School (Australia). It was amalgamated with the Royal Military College under the one command. In August 1942 the School was divided into two wings: the Senior Wing for Grade 1 appointments; and the Junior Wing for Grade 2 appointments.

At the end of World War II, the Federal Government decided to increase the strength of the post-war Regular Army and Cabinet gave approval for the establishment of a Staff College in Australia. On 27 February 1946, the Staff School (Australia) was re-named the Australian Staff College. Authority was given to raise the College and to locate it at Fort Queenscliff. Because the Fort was not ready for immediate occupation, a temporary home was found for the College, in June 1946, at the School of Infantry, Seymour Victoria. On 26 October 1946, the advance party of the College arrived at Fort Queenscliff and the first staff course to be conducted at the new College began in January 1947.

An officer from the Indian Army attended No 10 Course of the Staff School. Other overseas representation at the Australian Staff College began in 1948 when two officers from the United Kingdom and one from Canada attended. Since then, students from Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Canada, Federal Republic of Germany, Fiji, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Kuwait, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Tonga, United Arab Emirate, United Kingdom, and the United States have attended. At least one student from the RAAF and one from the Australian Public Service have attended almost all Courses since 1952. A total of 1788 students had graduated from the Australian Staff College at Fort Queenscliff by December 1981.

Only in November 1979, after much thought and discussion, was it decided that the Australian Army Staff College would have a permanent home at Fort Queenscliff.

On 1 January 1982, the College was renamed the Command and Staff College. This reflected the new aim of the Course which included both command and staff aspects. New support facilities were opened at Crow’s Nest Barracks in 1985 and work began in 1986 on the new instruction block at Fort Queenscliff.

On 29 January 1988, the new Military Instructional Facility (MIF) was officially opened by the then Chief of the General Staff (CGS). The MIF features a lecture hall, a model room, syndicate rooms, computer centre, and library. Major rebuilding of the Officers Mess and Mess Accommodation was completed in mid-1990. By December 1996, 1224 officers had graduated from the Command and Staff College.

The last course conducted under single service auspices, graduated in December 2000, thus bringing to a close a successful 62 years of Command and Staff College operation.


Commonwealth of Australia Copyright ©


Each year published a Visitor's handbook. What follows is a reproduction of the Visiotor's handbook for 1997.
















    Land Warfare Centre Courses

    Reserve Command and Staff Courses

    Senior Officer Study Period (SOSP)



    Course Structure

    Guest Student Orientation Period


    Australian Army


    Guest Students



    Directing Staff

    Officer Development Wing Staff

    Support Wing Staff


    The Commandant - Brigadier P.J. McNamara

    The Director of Studies - Colonel R.W. Shoebridge, ADC




    Biographical Details

    Administrative Arrangements

    Contact Officers





1.         The Australian Army's association with Queenscliff dates from 1860. Over the last 137 years the Fort has been continuously occupied by the Army. Today, Fort Queenscliff is the home of the Command and Staff College.


2.         This handbook provides an outline of the Command and Staff College including short history of the College and Fort Queenscliff, the College organisation. information on staff and students and a guide for visiting lecturers. I trust you will find it useful in preparing for your visit to the College.


                                                                                     P.J. McNAMARA



Command and Staff College







1.         Fortification at Queenscliff dates from 1859, when the Victorian Government decided to emplace guns on Shortland's Bluff to command the entrance to Port Phillip Bay. Shortland's Bluff is the land on which the Fort now stands. The Victorian Government decision was made because of feelings of vulnerability in the gold-rich colony during the Crimean War.


2.         Construction of the Fort itself began in 1882, prompted by colonial power rivalry and the ventures of the Russian fleet into the South Pacific. Fort Queenscliff was armed with large, rifled, muzzle-loading cannons. Its landward defences included a gorge or dry moat, a wall with loopholes, a drawbridge and a keep. These defences were to provide protection the Fort's batteries from coup-de-main parties landed from attacking cruisers. The landward defences enclosed the black lighthouse, the pilot and lighthousekeeper's signal station and several two-storey municipal buildings close by. These structures remain within the Fort although the municipal buildings near the signal station have long since been occupied for military use.


3.         From 1882 until 1899, Fort Queenscliff was manned by the Victorian Artillery. From 1899 until 1946 it was manned by the Royal Australian Artillery, along with, after Federation in 1901, elements of the Royal Australian Engineers. Improvements in technology brought changes to the armaments of the Fort. Rifled muzzle-loading weapons gave way disappearing guns and thence to Quick Firing (QF) guns on barbette mountings. An 8 Inch Disappearing Gun and 6 Inch QF gun barrel and shield are among the displays at the Fort today.


4.         Major construction work took place at the Fort in the 1930s when the red brick Officers Mess, Artillery Barracks and Engineer Barracks were built. All these buildings have since been refurbished as living and working accommodation. The Military Instructional Facility was completed in 1988 as part of a major redevelopment program.


5.         Fort Queenscliff has been included on the Register of the National Estate by the Austra1ian Heritage Commission.


6.         Formal command and staff training in Australia for senior officers of the Australian Military Forces began in 1938. A Command and Staff School in Sydney conducted courses one week's duration.


7.         Command and Staff training expanded during the Second World War. The Command and Staff School moved to Canberra, and courses lengthened to twelve weeks. In 1942 the school was renamed the Staff School. Then located in Cabarlah, Queensland, it conducted separate courses to prepare officers for Grade One (Lieutenant Colonel) and Grade Two (Major) staff appointments. By 1944, a third course was added, with the aim of preparing officers for Grade Three (Captain) appointments.


8.         Following the war, the Australian Government decided to continue staff training for senior officers. The Staff School was re-named the Australian Staff College and, after temporary location elsewhere, opened at Fort Queenscliff for the 1947 Course. The Australian Staff College Course was then designed to prepare students in the rank of Major for Grade Two staff appointments.


9.         The Australian Staff College functioned at Fort Queenscliff from 1947 to 1982, b a decision being made in 1979 that Fort Queenscliff would remain the permanent home the College.


10.       On 1 January 1982, the Australian Staff College was re-named the Command and staff College and given the task of preparing officers for command and staff appointments in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. This remains the primary focus of the College, although the charter has since been broadened, increasing the College's responsibility for a number of command and staff courses.







1.         The Command and Staff College is to prepare selected officers for senior command and staff appointments.


2.         Secondary objectives are:


a. to reinforce the responsibility that Army officers have towards the security of the nation;


b. to establish the highest standards in the entire spectrum of personal and military ethics and to reinforce the development of the total military professional;


c. to contribute to the formulation of doctrine related to operations at the tactical, operational and strategic levels of war; and


d. to monitor developments in leadership theory and doctrine and ensure that a coordinated and progressive approach exists to leadership development within the Army.





3.         The College is to further professional military excellence and to prepare officers for increasing authority, responsibility, and accountability by using the highest standards of education and training. In doing this the Command and Staff College is to create an environment which encourages the systematic habits of the mind and which develops the ability to read critically, think analytically and communicate lucidly about our profession and its functions.


4.         Studies are to:


a. emphasise the command and staff knowledge and skills needed to win the land battle;


b. enhance competence in:


    (1) written and verbal communication,


    (2) management of resources,


    (3) making decisions, and


    (4) team work; and


c. strengthen students' sense of purpose by the study of strategy, force development and military history.


The College is to encourage full expression and application of ideas and to place the onus for learning on the student.







5.         The Commandant of the Command and Staff College is responsible. as the ining Adviser. for the technical content of the following:


a. Intermediate Staff Course,


b. Intermediate Operations Course,


c. Army Command and Staff Course,


d. Pre Command Seminar,


e. Advanced Operations Course, and


f. all Army Reserve command and staff training.


6.         Of these courses, the Army Command and Staff Course and elements of Army Reserve command and staff training are conducted at the College. The College also conducts annual Senior Officer Study Period (SOSP). The other courses listed above, with the exception of Reserve training, are conducted by the Land Warfare Centre.


7.         The majority of Reserve command and staff training is conducted by Command and Staff Wings at the regionally based Training Groups. A major review of Reserve all-corps officer training is now underway, based on the principle of achieving maximum integration of both standards and conduct of training for Regular and Reserve officers.



Land Warfare Centre Courses


8.         Intermediate Staff Course (ISC). The aim of the ISC is to prepare junior officers for staff appointments in the rank of Captain and Major.


9.         Intermediate Operations Course (lOC). The aim of the IOC is to train Captains and Majors in tactics and war administration to enable them to plan brigade level operations.


10.       Advanced Operations Course (AOC). The AOC aims to develop in selected senior officers and understanding of the manoeuvre and support of land forces and of joint operations considerations applicable to those forces.


11.       Pre Command Seminar (PCS). The aim of the PCS is to prepare selected Lieutenant Colonels for command appointments.



Reserve Command and Staff Courses


12.       Command and staff training for Reserve officers is provided at three levels: Basic (2000 series courses), Intermediate (3000 series) and Advanced (4000 series). The Intermediate and Advanced Courses provide training equivalent to elements of the ISC, IOC, AOC and PCS. Some Advanced Courses are integrated with modules of the Army Command and Staff Course. As indicated earlier, the Army is aiming to achieve a greater level of integration of Reserve and Regular training.



Senior Officer Study Period (SOSP)


13.       The aim of the SOSP is to exercise and update the knowledge of selected senior officers in planning at the operational level of war. The focus of the SOSP is campaign planning for the defence of Australia.








1.         The conduct of the Army Command and Staff Course is the major activity of the College. The aim of the course is to prepare selected officers for command and staff appointments in the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. In particular the course is to prepare an officer to:


a. command a unit in peace and war;


b. plan and conduct training;


c. plan and conduct the operations of a division and corps in war; and


d. serve as a grade one staff officer at:


    (1) division and corps headquarters in war,


    (2) Command and Defence Centre headquarters,


    (3) Army Office, and


    (4) Headquarters Australian Defence Force.



Course Structure


2.         The course is conducted over 45 weeks and is preceded by an Introductory Week (Orientation Period) for those students from overseas and sister services. Studies to be completed during the Course are grouped into six major areas and are conducted over four terms.


3.         The study areas are:


a. Operations,


b. Command,


c. Australian Defence,


d. Strategy,


e. Military History, and


f. Communications and Thinking.


During the year students also undertake an Elective Study on a topic of interest to both

themselves and the Army. This topic is normally selected from the Army Master Studies List.



Guest Student Orientation Period


4.         The purpose of the Guest Student Orientation Period is to:


a. introduce guest students to Australian Defence Force (ADF) organisations and capabilities; and


b. assist them and their families to settle into the local community and Australian Army life.






5.         The student body in 1997 comprises:


Total Number                                       89

Australian Army Students                      61

Guest Students                         28



Australian Armv Students



Armoured                                 Intelligence

Artillery                                    Transport

Engineers                                  Medical

Signals                          Ordinance

Infantry                                     Electrical & Mechanical Engineers

Aviation                                    Military Police



Source of Commission:

Royal Military College      20

Officer Cadet School         33

WRAAC School                  5

DEO                                     1

ARes                                    1

RAAF OTS                          1



Oldest                                 38 Years

Youngest                             31 Years

Average                              34 Years



                        Longest Service                   17 years

Shortest Service                    9 years

Average                              12 years



UN Service                                          21

Overseas Posting/Training                     43


Tertiary Qualifications:

Assoc Dip Agr             B Soc Sci                                 MA (Mil Stud)

Assoc Dip App Sc       Cat Celt                                   M Mngt

BA                               Dip Avn Studies (ATC)            M Mngt Studies

BA (Ec)                       Dip OH&S                               M Sc

BA (History)                DipT                                        M Sc (DefTech)

BA (Hons)                   Grad Dip Admin                       M Sc (Mngt)

BA (Mil)                      Grad Dip (Comp)

BBSc                           Grad Dip Def Studies

BBus (Tpt)                   Grad Dip Intl Relations

BE (Civ)                       Grad Dip (Info Sys)

BE (Elec)                     Grad Dip Maint Eng

BE (Mech)                   Grad Dip (Mngt Sc)

B Prof Stud                  Grad Dip (TSM)

R Sc                             MA



Guest Students


Service/Country of Origin:

Royal Australian Navy              1

Royal Australian Air Force                    1

Australian Public Service                       1


Canada                                                            1 Transport

India                                                     1 Ordnance

Indonesia                                              1 Infantry

Japan                                                   1 Defence Force

Kuwait                                                 1 Army

Malaysia                                               2 Armoured, Infantry

New Zealand                                        4 Artillery, Infantry, Signals,

   Electrical & Mechanical Engineer

Pakistan                                               1 Artillery

Philippines                                            1 Infantry

Papua New Guinea                               2 Engineer, Infantry

Singapore                                             1 Infantry

Thailand                                               1 Armoured

Tonga                                                   1 Aviation

United Kingdom                                   2 Infantry, Transport

United States                                        5 US Marine Corps, Ordnance,                                       Infantry



UN Service                                          7

Overseas Posting/Training                     10


Tertiary Qualifications:

BA                               BSc                              MA (Humanities)

BA (psych)                   BSc (Def Studies)         MPA Admin Public

B History                      BSc (Mil)                     Post Grad Dip Eng

BS                               Grad Dip (MOAR)

BS (Finance)                LLBC

BS (History                  MA

BS (Psychology)           MA. Eng







1.         The Commandant commands the College. The staff consists of Instructor Wing (The Directing Staff), headed by the Director of Studies; Officer Development Wing, headed by the Director of Officer Development (a Reserve appointment), Research Section headed by Lieutenant Colonel, and Support Wing, under the command of the Officer Commanding Support Wing.



Directing Staff


2.         The Directing Staff in 1997 comprise:


Total Number                           21 (Including 3 x ARes)

Australian Officers                    16 (Including 1 x RAAF)

Guest Officers                5



Staff Corps                                 1

Armoured                                   2

Artillery                                      2

Engineers                                    1

Signals                                        1

Infantry                                       8

Intelligence                                 1

Transport                                   2

Ordnance                                   1

Logistics                                     1

RAAF                                        1



Longest                                    31 Years

Shortest                                    13 Years

Average                                   20 Years



Operational Service                    2

UN Service                               9

Overseas Posting/Training         20

Command                                  6


Tertiary Qualifications:

BA(Mil)                                   Grad Cert Bus Admin

BA International Relations         Grad Cert Strat Studs

BA (History)                            Grad Dip Def Studs

BA                                           Grad Dip (Mngt)

B Civ Engr                               Grad Dip Mngt Studs

BEng                                        Grad Dip Strat Studs

BSc                                          Grad Dip (TSM)

Dip Sc                          MA

Dip Mil Stud                             MSc

Dip OH&S



Officer Development Wing Staff


3.         Officer Development Wing was formerly Headquarters Reserve Command and Staff College and is staffed by eight Reserve officers, two Regular officers and two Reserve soldiers. The Wing undertakes validation of training provided by the College as well as coordination and development of Reserve command and staff training.



Support Wing Staff


4.         The support staff comprise:


Total Number                                       97

Military Personnel (All ranks)    48

Civilian Personnel                                 49









Brigadier Philip McNamara was born on 15 October 1948 in Melbourne, Australia. He graduated from the Royal Military College of Australia in December 1969 and was posted to 2nd Battalion the Royal Australian Regiment where he served with the battalion as a platoon commander in South Vietnam from Apri11970 until 1971.


His other regimental appointments include Company Second in Command with the 2nd Battalion Pacific Islands Regiment in Wewak, Papua New Guinea, Squadron Commander with the Special Air Service Regiment, and Commanding Officer 1st Commando Regiment.


He has served in a range of staff appointments including Staff Officer Grade Two (Surveillance, Target Acquisition, and Night Observation) in the Directorate of Operational Requirements Army Office, Chief Development Officer at the Infantry Centre, Chief of Staff Headquarters 2nd Division and Colonel Operations Land Headquarters.


His military education includes a Bachelor of Science from the Royal Military College, attending the British Royal Military College of Science in 1978, and the Australian Staff college in 1979.


Brigadier McNamara has had two appointments in the USA. He served as the Australian Exchange Instructor at the U.S. Army Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia in 1982-83. In June 1991 he was selected to attend the National Defence University as an International fellow. During his year as an International Fellow he completed the National War College course. On completion of the course he was attached to the National War College Faculty for six months.


He is currently posted as the Commandant of the Army Command and Staff College, a position he has held since 6 January 1995.


Brigadier McNamara and his wife Anne have two sons and two daughters. His interests include most sports especially tennis, cricket, jogging, surf skiing and gardening.







Colonel Rob Shoebridge was born in Sydney on 6 February 1952. He graduated from the Royal Military College in December 1973 and was posted to the 1st Armoured Regiment, Royal Australian Armoured Corps, where he served until July 1977.


His other regimental appointments include Adjutant of the 4th Cavalry Regiment and a posting as an exchange Squadron Commander with 3RTR, British Army on the Rhine. He has also seen service as a UN observer with UNTSO.


Colonel Shoebridge has had staff appointments as ADC at Headquarters Field Force Command, in the Directorate of Service Conditions - Army, in Headquarters ADF (Operation Division) and as Chief of Staff/Deputy Commander of Northern Command.


His training appointments have been at RMC as a Company Commander and Instructor Armour, the Armoured Centre as SI Tactics, the Malaysian Armed Forces Staff College as an exchange DS and, currently, Director of Studies at the Army Command and Staff College.


His military education includes a Bachelor of Arts from RMC, attendance at Command and Staff College in 1984 and the award of a Graduate Diploma in Strategic Studies after attendance at JSSC in 1993.


On 1 January 1996, he was appointed an Honorary ADC to the Governor General.


Colonel Shoebridge and his wife Jill have three sons. His interests include gardening, snow skiing, reading and jogging.







1.         In addition to purely military topics the College offers broader areas of study. It invites outside bodies to provide representatives to take part in these studies usually as visiting lecturers. Participants are invited from Commonwealth and State Government Departments, statutory authorities, tertiary education institutions, foreign embassies, trade unions, and commercial organisations.


2.         Students, staff and visitors are encouraged to express fully and frankly their personal views, on the explicit understanding that the discussions are private and nothing will be reported or attributed to speakers outside the College.



Lecture Facilities


3.         Lectures are presented in Blamey Theatre. On arrival of lecturers, an operator will

be made available to assist and set up any aids required for presentations.



Biographical Details


4.         It is College practice to provide students with biographical details of each visiting lecturer. It would be appreciated if lecturers could forward a draft biography to the College fourteen days before their lecture.



Administrative Arrangements


5.         Visiting lecturers will be contacted by the College to arrange travel, accommodation requirements and to identify any special training requirements. For Defence personnel, the College will provide an Issuing Authority Number and a Requisition Number. All movements will be arranged by the College, and civilian visitors will be provided with travel details, including flight and road movement arrangements.