Australian Army Chaplains' Department

About This Unit

Formation of the Australian Army Chaplains Department

In 1913 representatives of the Anglican, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, and Methodist denominations met with the Australian Army’s Adjutant General, Lieutenant Colonel Harry Chauvel, to establish the structure of the Australian Army Chaplains Department. It was agreed that each denomination would appoint one chaplain general, and one senior chaplain per state to administer that denomination’s chaplains. One chaplain from each of the four denominations would also be attached to each infantry and light horse brigade. In total, the proposed establishment would comprise 116 chaplains. The Australian Army Chaplains Department was promulgated in the Commonwealth Gazette on 20 December 1913.

Conditions of service were based on the British model. Promotions were governed by length of service and chaplains were exempt from normal retirement ages. Unfit chaplains would be placed on the unattached list.

Chaplains were commissioned as officers. Although the chaplain general had no equivalent military rank, the four classes of chaplain corresponded to the relative ranks of colonel, lieutenant colonel, major, and captain. Chaplains were appointed initially to class IV (captain equivalent).