Recollections of the Baxter Depot

David Edwards, YO & GPO, 23 Bty

I arrived at the Baxter Depot (23 Bty, 2/15 Fd Regt) as a young officer sometime around late 1986 or early 1987. The site looked very much like the school who’s grounds we shared. The depot was a replacement for the Bty after the old 15 Fd Regt depot in Frankston was demolished.

It certainly looked like the other school buildings on the site, comprising some (semi-permanent) portables (now gone) connected to a permanent building and dedicated gun/transport bays in a separate building. The portables included some offices for the BC, BK and BSM, the orderly room and “classrooms” for the CP and Sigs. The permanent building had a classroom and Gunners mess with a concertina wall between them, the Sgts mess (where the Officers were invited guests) and a Q-Store and armoury.

Many a weeknight evening spent as Bty Ldr, Recon Offr and GPO. I recall CP drills with various CP Sgts (Peter Heard and Mitch Kenny spring to mind) and CP Ops including Stuart (now Maj) Pigdon and Tom (now Brig) Nairn.

There would be a range briefing on the evening before a weekend. I can’t recall who the BC was (might have been Ross Peterken) but he concluded the briefing by stating “There will be on alcohol on the range this weekend”. Straight away the BK (John Traill) replied with “Does that mean we need to bring our own?”.

In my brief stint as Regt Survey Officer, I came down to the depot and we ran line from the marker point in the carpark into the CP room. Running log steel tapes from the carpark through the classroom windows was a different exercise.

I can’t recall when the depot closed down (and was returned to the Dept of Education). We operated both for a while under 22 Bty and then the Bty moved to the new Multi-user Depot (MUD) in Doveton.

Baxter depot now (2023) – Gun/vehicle bays on the left, missing portables and the permanent buildings on the right.