What is our History?

History of the Australian Air Force Cadets


1941 - Formed as the 'Air Training Corp' (ATC) - provided pre entry training for air and ground crews to the RAAF during WWII.

"The Corps would have two objectives. The first, and short-term objective, was to provide for the general education of young men between the ages of 16 and 18 years who desired eventually to join the RAAF. The second, or long-term objective, to come into force after the 1939-45 War, was to encourage young men to increase their knowledge of air matters and in particular the RAAF, instil a sense of discipline and provide elementary training in technical matters; thus, even at that stage, a continuing post-war role was seen for the Corps."

1946-1948 - Demobilised and scaled down for post war years - aims changed to peacetime role: Squadrons relegated to Flights.

"Reserve Magazine of December 1949 set out the composition and conditions for the postwar ATC as an 'air youth movement', and gave its numbers as 'at least 3,000'. It stated that cadets were under no obligation to enlist in the RAAF, but preference would be extended to them should they desire to do so."

1974 - ATC disbanded by Whitlam Labor Government.

1976 - Air Training Corps (AIRTC) raised and reformed by Fraser Coalition Government.

1982 - Girls were admitted.

1989 - The AIRTC's establishment of both cadets and staff was increased.

1991 - First attempt to create a national organisation on training.

2000 - Topely Review - first sign of enhanced Government support.

2000 - Directorate of Defence Force Cadets (DDFC) formed (Tri Service Policy Support for cadets) $6m Cadet Enhancement Program.

2001 - AIRTC renamed 'Australian Air Force Cadets' (AAFC).

Until 2004-2005, eight separate organisations culturally based on state political boundaries.

Identical uniforms, RAAF customs but that's about all.

No consistency in ground or air training standards or systems.

2005 - AAFC reorganised into operational and functional wings.

April 2005 reorganisation raised three functional wings; Ground Training, Air Training, Logistics Support, with an Office of the Chief of Staff, to provide national policy with command authority.

The operational wings based on state boundaries continue their focus on the delievery of cadet training programs and services,

  • 1 Wing - North Queensland
  • 2 Wing - Queensland
  • 3 Wing - New South Wales / ACT
  • 4 Wing - Victoria
  • 5 Wing - Tasmania
  • 6 Wing - South Australia
  • 7 Wing - Western Australia
  • 8 Wing - Northern Territory


2006 - DDFC renamed Cadet Policy Branch (CPB) and moved to Defence Personnel Executive.

2007 - Government announces $100m/10 years support for cadets.

2008 - Governemnt anounces Review of Cadet forces