Murray Bridge auto collectors visit Keswick Army Barracks museum

On a cold Sunday morning, on August 5, members of the Auto Collectors Club of Murray Bridge, along with family and friends, took a ride to Adelaide for an outing.

A group of 53 people gathered at Johnson Park Clubrooms for a short briefing on the day’s trip to the Keswick Army Barracks Museum, which was organised by John and Carol Ali.

A convoy of 20 vehicles arrived at the barracks just after 10am and was greeted by Nick Meredith, one of many volunteers who devote their time maintaining and improving the condition of displays and taking tours.

Morning tea was enjoyed in the Officers Mess where a warm open fire added to the comfort away from the cold wintry weather.

After the short break members viewed the exhibits throughout the barracks museum.

The barracks were first built in the 1900s and now the museum is housed in a building which originally was the stables.

However the buildings were not used as such because of the Great War which took troops and the Light Horse Brigade to distant lands.

The barracks then became the headquarters for the Army in South Australia, home of the 9th Brigade.

In recent years the Navy and Air Force moved to Keswick and the area is now known as Defence Headquarters SA.

The museum is impressive and enormous amount of memorabillia is on display from the Great War, World War II, Korean and Vietnam wars.

The Vickers Machine Gun created much interest as its “wired for sound” when firing the gun.

The group returned to the Officers Mess for lunch which consisted of a three-course meal and a beverage of choice which was enjoyed by everyone.

Following lunch members returned to view all manner of displays including tanks, trucks and the armed personnel carrier.

At 2.30pm a volunteer and old friend of John Ali gave a tour of the Heritage Walk around the buildings explaining the history of the barracks and siting of the headquarters.

“Auto collectors members visited the Keswick Army Barracks museum recently”

The group viewed the artillery area, which is locked and sealed for emergencies, and the garden where an enormous tree stands which was donated by the American Forces  in 1940s.

Members, family and friends also viewed the memorial to the Corp of Signals and the AATTV (Australian Army Training Team, Vietnam).

The unit was presented with the American Citation for their service in Vietnam from 1962 to 1972.

All members of the unity, over the 10 years, were ranks Staff Sargent, W02 and W01.

The day finished at about 3pm when the group departed for home after an  enjoyable day despite the wintry weather.