The Scheyville Experience
The Officer Training Unit at Scheyville NSW existed for only a brief eight years, yet the impact on those who experienced it has lingered for more than four decades.
Raised on 1 April 1965, near the town of Windsor, outside Sydney NSW, the unit’s purpose was to train young officers to serve in the Australian Army during their two years compulsory national service.
During the National Service Scheme of 1965-73 some 800,000 young Australians were registered for call up, with 64,000 (8%) selected by ballot based on their 20th birthday date and called up for two years service. Of these 64,000 national servicemen 2700 (4%) were selected for a 21 week make or break course at OTU Scheyville and only 1871 finally graduated as Second Lieutenants around their 21st birthday. Statistically they are a unique group of men.
The experience at Scheyville had in most cases a major impact on their lives. For many it was one of the most intense experiences they would encounter. For others it changed their lives forever. Some served on in with distinction in the regular Australian Army, with many reaching the rank of Brigadier and many earned gallantry awards in Vietnam and Malaysia. Others went on to make a substantial contribution to Australian society through careers in politics, business, law, public service, education, sport, the arts and sciences and on the land.
This unique group of men won the hard earned respect of the army and OTU Scheyville has gone down in the annals of military history as one of the Army’s great successes.
For those that went through the OTU Scheyville, be they staff or graduates, that shared experience has created a bond that has lasted for decades. Throughout the world Scheyvillians keep in contact with each other through the OTU Association, regular reunions and get togethers and they maintain friendships and a camaraderie born of the Scheyville Experience.
As the decades roll on life appears not to weary them and news is always filtering through of the strong spirit of adventure and confidence that is the hallmark of those that passed through OTU Scheyville.
This website is principally for the purpose of communicating with those who experienced OTU Scheyville, but it is also available to those who are simply interested in a unique chapter of Australian military history.