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Initially 5,714 hectares of grazing land were compulsory acquired just to the west of the town of Seymour (96 kilometres north of Melbourne); Seymour had been a site for military training since the late 1800s. The camp's name was derived from the name of a large hill within the field training area, today known as Mount Puckapunyal. Puckapunyal is an English rendering of an Aboriginal word the meaning of which is obscure. It has been variously translated as "death to the eagle", "the outer barbarians", "the middle hill", "place of exile", and "valley of the winds". The camp facilities at Puckapunyal were spartan at first - consisting primarily of unlined, windowless corrugated iron huts - but were progressively improved as the war continued. Both AIF and militia units were trained there, and the camp was also home to several Army schools.
Puckapunyal remains in use by the Australian Army today and the field training area now encompasses almost 40,000 hectares. Since the Second World War a wide array of units, of both the regular and reserve, have been based at Puckapunyal or used it for training. It remains best known, however, as the home of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps, the first units of which moved there in February 1941.
The Salvation Army has been working at Puckapunyal since World War II. Initially a tent was set up from which a Salvation Army Officer worked. From there more permanent "Hop-In" recreation centres were allocated in the barracks area and visits to the range area were commenced.
As of December 2015, the RSDS does not have a full time representative at Puckapunyal. For any enquiries, please contact our National Headquarters on (02) 6270 3150.
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