Holy Cross Army Cadets

The Holy Cross Cadet unit was first established in 1909.

Adults who were in cadet units in the 1950s and 60s would find the focus of the corps these days to be radically changed. Concentration on specific military skills has given way to adventure and management training. The demand on the cadets is specifically calculated to build confidence, to promote reliability, and to give the cadets an opportunity to develop pride in themselves and in their service to others. 

Cadets are taught to work together in difficult circumstances and to learn through the process of cooperation. Self-discipline, respect for others and loyalty are all part of the Unit’s aims. A primary function of all of the Unit’s activities is to maintain the spiritual and moral values of the school. Military systems and rank structure are employed to provide opportunities for leadership and to maintain standards of efficiency.

Through the field program at camps and courses, the Unit provides realistic circumstances where the cadets can assess their own strengths and weaknesses and build self-esteem. Basic management techniques, skills connected with problem analysis and control, and the care and maintenance of equipment are all part of the Unit’s contribution to the development of the students. 

Uniforms and equipment
The Army supplies uniforms to all cadets, and there is a contribution from government funds annually to support the annual camp. There is a minimal cost to parents which covers the transport to and from camps. The co-curricular budget enables the unit to run its other activities, as well as to maintain its own equipment.  

What is expected of the Cadet?
Attendance at certain Cadet activities is compulsory:

  • The focus is on enjoyment and friendship along with lifelong memories of service
  • Wednesday  afternoon parades: 3.30 – 5.00 pm (4:30 pm in Winter) 
  • The ANZAC Commemoration Parade and local community commemorations
  • Field activities Include a weekend bivouac and one-week specialist camp. 
  • Cadets are expected to care for and maintain all equipment issued to them.

How HCCCU aims are achieved?
Field Activities: Where the College calendar allows, the Unit schedules a weekend bivouac, normally held in the Term Three. The main field activity for the year is the Annual Camp held in Term 4. Establishing a fully functioning camp in the bush and living together in comfort for a week is part of the challenge, but more important is the opportunity to contribute to the life of the school by catering for the Year 8 cadets and introducing them to life in the field. At camp, meals are prepared by the cadets themselves, under the supervision of the older Cadets. Apart from the experience of living in tents, the cadets also take part in abseiling, canoeing, first aid and fieldcraft exercises. 

The Year 8 cadets also travel to other external venues for full day trek and other adventure activities. Cadets in Year 9/10 are transported to another bush location where they take part in an overnight navigational exercise in parties of four. 

Elements of Training
The main emphasis in cadet training is the development of responsibility. This is achieved by allowing cadets to assume increasing levels of control as they progress through the Unit. Officers of Cadets (teachers and Old Boys) assume a mentor role, guiding the cadets in their work and monitoring progress. Their role is essentially that of a “safety net” allowing the students to experiment with responsibility. 

The Unit works on the principle that it is all right to make mistakes, providing you learn from them. As a basis for future development, all basic Army drill movements are covered in the first months of training. This drill is regarded as an essential element in building team work and discipline. Cadets who have completed their recruit training receive instruction in medics and signals. The basic principles of instruction are also covered in the second year. 

After two years the cadets may choose from a range of specialties which cater for a variety of skills and interests. Specialties currently operating include Abseiling, Canoeing, Q Store, Medics/Signals, Catering, Fieldcraft and Pioneering. A Training Cadre consisting of highly qualified cadets prepares and supervises training and assessment. 

Promotion Leadership Courses
These courses are voluntary, laying stress on leadership and instructional ability. The Unit follows the Army objectives based training concepts with the older cadets accepting responsibility for the overall standards required in the Unit. By the time the boys reach Year 11 their courses concentrate on skills which are deliberately designed to enhance their career prospects. These skills include the leadership and management of teams; the planning, implementation and evaluation of training programs; hazard analysis and modification; an understanding of change processes within an organisation and the application of resources to specific tasks.

Ceremonial Requirements
Despite the limited time devoted to drill practices each year, the Unit is justifiably proud of its standards on the parade ground. The ANZAC Commemoration is held in the presence of the entire school and is designed around the central feature of a ceremony of commemoration for Old Boys who died in war.

Later in the year the Unit presents its Annual Ceremonial Parade which features the Graduation of the Senior Cadets and the exchange of the Unit flags from the graduating year to the new leaders.