The Royal New South Wales Lancers

NSW Lancers Memorial Museum - Schools Program

When most Australians think about military history, they immediately think of the need to take a trip to Canberra to visit the Australian War Memorial. This is no longer necessary, with the NSW Lancers Memorial Museum's launch of a brand-new history program which focuses on the Stage 5, Depth Study 3: Australians at war: World Wars 1 and 2 (1914-1918, 1939-1945) of the New South Wales Schools History curriculum.

The New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum is the Regimental Museum of one of Australi's oldest, and its most decorated Regiment, the 1st/15th Royal NSW Lancers. It tells the continuing stories of the Regiment from its gazettal in 1885, from horse and lance to modern armoured fighting vehicles. As Vice-Regal Escort until 1948, these stories include ceremonial duties both at home and abroad. On active service, Lancers were the first Colonial Volunteers to land and fight in Australia's very first war, the Boer War in 1899, becoming the first Australian soldiers ever to see serious military action. In World War 1, as the famous 1st Light Horse, the Regiment fought in the trenches of Gallipoli and, as part of Harry Chauvel's Desert Mounted Corps, in the campaign across the Sinai and through the Ottoman Hejaz to capture Jerusalem and Damascus. In World War 2 as the 1st Armoured Regiment, the Lancers mounted what is to this day Australia's largest ever armoured assault at Balikpapan in 1945.


The Museum's collection, which includes a fleet of heritage military vehicles, all used at different times during the Regiment's history and most restored to full mobility, is State Heritage listed in its entirety. The Museum has been professionally assessed as the finest of its type in Australia, and all contained within Commonwealth Heritage listed Lancer Barracks, mainland Australia's oldest military barracks built by Governor Macquarie in 1820.

The Museum's School History Program

Focuses on the Stage 5, Depth Study 3: Australians at War: World Wars 1 and 2 (1914-1918, 1939-1945) of the History curriculum. It covers most of the relevant outcomes, which are indicated through the learning options and listed below:

A student:

• Explains and assesses the historical forces and factors that shaped the modern world and Australia HT5-1

• Sequences and explains the significant patterns of continuity and change in the development of the modern world and Australia HT-2

• Explains and analyses the causes and effects of events and developments in the modern world and Australia HT5-4

• Identifies and evaluates the usefulness of sources in the historical enquiry process HT5-5

• Explains different contexts, perspectives and interpretations of the modern world and Australia HT5-7

• Applies a range of relevant historical terms and concepts when communicating an understanding of the past HT5-9

The program caters for up to 48 students in one visit. It draws extensively on original, unique items from the Museum collection, from soldier's Gallipoli diaries through photo albums, small arms and battle maps to fully restored WW2 armoured fighting vehicles. Highlights for any history enthusiast include a 1920 copy of the Treaty of Versailles, the treaty which ended one world war and arguably started the next, and the internationally acclaimed WW2 Matilda Tank named ACE, first tank off the landing craft at Australia's largest ever armoured assault mounted by the Lancers in 1945, one of only three surviving Matildas from that action and the only one to have been fully restored to the condition its WW2 fighting crew would have known it. Helped by experienced, retired Lancers as guides, students will be engaged in a seriously fun day of discovery style learning and source analysis. In small groups they will rotate through 5 activities, each of 45 minutes duration with notes and worksheets which can be pasted into school books. The 5 activities are:

• The causes of World Wars 1 and 2, why men enlisted and where Australians fought (ADSEH021, 095 and 024)

• The nature of warfare during the Gallipoli campaign (ACDSEH095 and 107)

• The outcome of the Gallipoli campaign (ACDSEH095 and 107)

• The changing scope and nature of warfare from trenches in WW1 to the Holocaust and the use of atomic bombs to end WW2 (ACDSEH095 and 107)

• Significant events and the experiences of Australians at war (ACDSEH108) students will either dress in WW1 Light Horse, WW2 Tank Crew or wartime Army Nurses' uniforms; study specific WW1 or WW2 Regimental or wartime veteran nurses. Climb onto and also experience a WW2 armoured fighting vehicle start its engines and move within Lancer Barracks, to experience the life of a wartime armoured fighting vehicle crewman. You can travel the length and breadth of Australia and rarely, if ever, experience something like this.

• As an alternative, the Museum can offer another activity:

- Operation Oboe 2 - the landings at Balikpapan in July 1945 (ACDSEH108)

The Museum is unusual in being a "living" Museum, located together with the Headquarters of the Royal NSW Lancers which continues today as the premier armoured Regiment in the Australian Army Reserve, located in the fully operational Lancer Barracks. Its location makes it an easy one day visit for most schools in the Sydney Metropolitan area.

Administrative matters

• Bus parking is available on site with plenty of space for picnic style recess and lunch breaks

• Program cost is $10 per person including all notes and worksheets

• The risk assessment for the program can be found and downloaded HERE; this website also provides comprehensive information, videos and photographs on the Barracks, the Regiment and the Museum.

• The Museum holds public liability insurance for $20 million


For more information please contact John Howells on 0405 482 814; for bookings use this BOOK HERE form.


My Year 9 students had an amazing learning experience at the Lancer Barracks. The museum is divided into relevant rooms based on Australia s military involvement, and packed full of interesting artefacts for the students to look, touch and read through. Activities developed by the museum were engaging, linked to the curriculum, and utilised the objects on display well. The real highlight though for everyone was the opportunity to climb all over and get inside real military vehicles (like a Matilda tank) from WWII, as well as trying on uniforms from WWI & WWII. Being able to physically interact with objects from the past was a real eye-opener for my students and prompted excellent discussions on the day and back in the classroom. Highly recommended for Year 9 or 10 students during, before or after their study of the two world wars. D Martin, History teacher at Arthur Phillip High School.

New South Wales Lancers Memorial Museum Incorporated ABN 94 630 140 881; Linden House, Lancer Barracks, 2 Smith Street, PARRAMATTA, AUSTRALIA
Postal Address: PO Box 7287, PENRITH SOUTH NSW 2750, AUSTRALIA; Telephone: +61 (0)405 482 814 Email:
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