The museum begans its life shortly after WWII when members of the staff of the School of Signals at Balcombe collected equipment that was going out of service and set up displays for the students. It enabled the trainees to learn about the history of their Corps and to study the evolution of their equipment and the changes in technology.
Even though some of the early equipment looks basic and sometimes crude, it was the latest military technology of its day. Military equipment in the years just after WWII was far more advanced than domestic equipment and appliances. It was not until many years later that the development of solid state electronics, starting with transistors, and aided by mass production produced cheap, sophisticated and reliable domestic equipment and appliances.
The signals museum moved to Watsonia in 1970 when the School of Signals moved there. It was set up in building 6, close to the Greensborough road main entrance. A small group of volunteers worked at the museum and various Signals Unit Associations set up displays dedicated to their former Units and in memory of former serving army members.
The museum moved to its current location, building 147, after the satellite terminal was closed and the 18 metre diameter satellite dish was moved to Western Australia. When the satellite terminal building was built, it was purpose contrsucted to house the associated equipment and plant and to provide office accommodation for the Army Signals Corps staff. However, it was not suitable as a museum, since it did not have disabled access and it was not modifified to conform to the Building Code for public access. Ten years after the museum was set up in its current building it was closed to the general public by the Defence Infrastructure managers. For many years before the closure, musuem staff and interested people worked to have the museum refurbished and reclassified. Finally in late April 2006, the museum refurbishment commenced. Most of the displays were moved from the building by volunteers and staff members from the Defence Force School of Signals and Signals Cell. Contractors then worked on the building for almost three months; offices were demolished and new ones were built. A new conference room was contrsucted and the entire display area had air conditioning installed, a new disabled toilet and an entrance ramp installed. The entrance is now much more inviting than the old narrow passage way that greeted the visitor on arrival.
The RA Sigs Museum is open for business
Opening hours - every Tuesday from 1000h to 1530h.
In the future the opening hours will be expanded, including weekends.
Contact the curator on (03) 9450 7874 for any queries or to arrange a tour.
The present Corps Badge, approved in 1946, is described as: "The figure of Mercury on a globe, the latter supported above by a scroll bearing the motto 'Certa Cito', and a boomerang below bearing the inscription 'Australia'. The whole is surmounted by a crown, detached. Mercury and the globe are in sliver; the remainder gilt. Mercury faces his right." The Corps motto is 'Certa Cito' and is translated as 'Swift and Sure', signifying the aim of the signal service - that communications be carried out with maximum speed and certainty.
Corps DayOn the 10th November 1948, His Majesty King George VI conferred the title "Royal" on the Australian Corps of Signals. The day is recognised a "Corps Day", and commemorative functions are held as near as possible to 10th November each year
Brief Corps History
Australia has the unique distinction of having had the first regularly formed signal unit in the British Empire. In 1869 there existed, in New South Wales and Victoria small "torpedo and signals Corps". These continued until 1882, when they were disbanded. In 1885 a "signalling corps", composed of 1 officer and 12 other ranks, existed in South Australia and remained active until 1901.
Before the advent of self-contained signals units, the complement of signallers was on a regimental basis, each unit having on its establishment a proportion of regimental signallers. Great attention was paid to the training of these personnel; prizes and badges being awarded to those qualifying at what was known as a "signalling school". Instruction was imparted by a staff officer designated "Inspector of Signalling". After the inception of the Commonwealth Forces, an "Australian Corps of Signallers" was formed on 12th January, 1906. This Corps remained as a self contained unit, until the introduction of universal training in 1911, when it was merged with Australian Engineers.
In 1912, signals troops and companies formed portion of the Corps of Australian Engineers and served as such throughtout World War 1. These units had such names as "15th Engr Sig Tp (Engrs)" and "23rd Engr Sig Coy (Engrs)". These designations were retained until 1916, when the term (AE) was substituted for (Engrs) in the title.
With the introduction of the divisional organisation in 1921, the terms "Cav Div Sigs" and "Div Sigs" appeared for the first time. Coinciding with this change of nomenclature, all Signals units were separated from the Australian Corps of Engineers. On the 1st January 1925, the Australian Corps of Signals was formed.
Thus began the evolution of the Australian Corps of Signals which reached a total strength of 24,000 men during the Second World War.
On 10th November 1948, His Majesty King George VI conferred the title "Royal" on the Australian Corps of Signals. Since then, members of the Corps have served with distinction in all operational areas in which Australian troops have been involved - Korea, Malaya, Borneo, South Vietnam, Cambodia, Timor and the Middle East.
The Corps now has a regular peacetime strength of some 300 Officers and 2,300 Other Ranks. Its members are to be found in many parts of the world and in all States of Australia
The Corps BannerOn 10 September 1980, approval was given by Her Royal Highness, Princess Anne, The Princess Royal, LG, GCVO, the RASigs Colonel-in-Chief, for the Corps to carry a banner bearing her Cipher. The banner is known as "The Princess Anne Banner"
Note the Cypher , a stylised "A" on the front side on the banner with the Corps badge and the rear view has the Australian Coat of Arms
The banner and its accoutrements consist of the following: - the banner, The Force Communications Unit Cambodia Streamer, an English Bely, tassel, crown, pike, two SLR rifles, two chromed bayonets, two scabbards, two swords, and two white leather belts.
The Corps Prayer
"Almighty God, You communicate your truth to us in every age,