‘The Scheyville Battalion’

The war movie that had the biggest impact on my life was a movie called National Service Officer, a military infomercial about a place called, Scheyville OTU (Officer Training Unit).

During the Viet Nam War, on being drafted for National Service, they showed it to us in boot camp and, as a result, we could volunteer to apply for leadership training at the Scheyville Battalion of Officer Cadets.

After a rigourous selection procedure a few of us were selected from each recruit training battalion around the country and I was one of the 23 selected from Puckapunyal in Victoria in July, 1967. I was a member of the intake 3/67 and 4/67.

During less than a decade before it was closed down at the end of the war, almost 1,800 men graduated from OTU Scheyville.

The Officer Training Unit (OTU) Scheyville (pronounced like ‘sky-ville’) was a place in Western Sydney of which most Australians have never heard. However the Scheyville Battalion’s leaders have gone on to be extraordinarily successful in their chosen fields; the famed DFAT class of ’69 pales in comparison. It has been argued that they are perhaps one of the most successful cohorts Australia has ever produced.

Most schools couldn’t claim as many successful sons as Scheyville. To be sure, schools like Perth Modern can claim a Prime Minister, departmental secretaries, ministers and a Governor-General – but it did not produce them within the space of seven years. Scheyville can claim a Deputy Prime Minister (Tim Fischer), a state Premier (Jeff Kennett), parliamentarians, the leader of the famous airline strike, a Vice-Chancellor, scientists, a coterie of Brigadiers, successful broadcasters, journalists and advertising men and a bevy of prominent businessmen – all from but seven short years. Scheyville also produced some very gallant young men. The founding Commandant and ‘Father of Scheyville’ was Brigadier Ian Geddes.



The founder of the Scheyville Battalion was Brigadier Ian Geddes who was born in Tamworth, New South Wales on 4 February 1921 and he suffered a stroke and died on Saturday, 21 July 2007.

10 thoughts on “‘The Scheyville Battalion’

  1. I was postet to the OTU as a member of the Catering Corps in intake 1970 until 1973 ( Officers Mess )
    I was proud to serve in this unit and i will never forget this great time!
    By the Way…my senior officer was Lt,Roby AACC.

  2. I was a member of the U.T.O Staff and a Officers mess Cook from 1970 until 1973
    It was a greath time , in the 70……I will never forget!

  3. Never seen “National Service Officer” – Where can I find it?
    I’m a Nasho. Extended my service to go to Vietnam, now TPI.
    My service did me good. Unfortunately I’ve hit the wall.

  4. I am a Scheyvillian – and proud of it. The training and self discipline I learned there have been my mentors all of my life – so far.

  5. Although I am critical of my involvement in Vietnam ( My 13 month all paid expenses , Join the Army ( Well be drafted) see the world, meet interesting people and kill them) what I learned at Scheyville allowed me to establish a 350 person company with 11 international offices turning over US$105 million. I retired from the army reserve list this year. So thank you Scheyville, my parents passed through you as migrants. How come there is no lasting plaque to the migrants that made this country and their sons who carried out the policies of the governments of that time,. How many nasho second lieutenants died in Vietnam?

  6. after reading the above link (the Father of Scheyville), all I could do was sit quietly for a moment or three.. in a profoundly deep silence … and in the power of those moments, I began to appreciate what a wonderful Dad Scheyville must have had and why “The Scheyville Experience” produced such extraordinarily successful graduates

  7. […] The writings of Edward de Bono fascinated the young Michael Hewitt-Gleeson. Now, aged 60, he is principal of the School of Thinking, which he founded with de Bono. I WAS halfway through a marketing degree at RMIT when, at the age of 20, I was called up for national service. I was sent on an amazing 22-week leadership training program in Scheyville (west of Sydney) in 1967. Tim Fischer, Jeff Kennett and head of natural health company Marcus Blackmore also did this training. […]

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