Battalion History in brief
8/9 RAR was formed on 31 October 1973 by linking 8th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment and 9th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment as part of cutbacks to the army following the end of the Vietnam War. Upon formation the unit was based at Enoggera Barracks in Brisbane where it formed part of the 6th Brigade. The battalion’s first major task came in the wake of the 1974 Brisbane flood, when it assisted with the subsequent disaster relief and clean-up efforts.
During the 1980s the battalion lost a large number of its personnel to the 1st and 2nd Battalions, Royal Australian Regiment as part of the Operational Deployment Force, but nevertheless undertook the task of maintaining the Army’s amphibious and urban operations specialisations. The Battalion provided a Rifle Company in rotations with other Battalions in the Regiment in Butterworth Malaysia during the communist insurgency 1973 to 1989 also known as the Second Emergency or Communist Insurgency War 1968 to 1989. In 1990, it took on a further role of training Papua New Guinea Defence Forces
In January 1992, the battalion took on the role of a Ready Reserve unit. Under this scheme Ready Reserve soldiers were posted to the battalion for an initial 12 month full-time period, followed by a further period of four years part-time. On 10 October 1992, the battalion received the Right to the Freedom of Entry to the City of Brisbane. In 1996, the Ready Reserve scheme was abolished by the incoming government and shortly after this, as part of a restructuring of the Army, 8/9 RAR was disbanded on 30 June 1997.
On 24 August 2006 Prime Minister John Howard announced that the battalion would be re-raised under a new plan to increase the size of the Army. The battalion would continue to be called the 8/9th Battalion and would be based in South East Queensland. On 2 October 2007 the Australian Government announced that 8/9 RAR would be re-raised to be operationally deployable by 2010, and a full battalion by 2011. The battalion would be based in Brisbane at Enoggera Barracks, as part of the 7th Brigade.
The battalion was officially re-raised on 31 October 2007, and was rapidly established as a motorised unit, equipped with Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles. Although originally it was intended that the battalion would consist of two motorised rifle companies, a support company and an administration company, this structure was deemed unworkable and the battalion was subsequently reorganised. By mid-2009, the battalion consisted of 620 personnel organised into one motorised rifle company, one light infantry company, a manoeuvre support company and a combat service support company. Meanwhile, 7th Brigade was transformed into a regular motorised formation, following the transfer of its reserve infantry battalions to 11th Brigade. By 2010, 8/9 RAR was established as a motorised infantry battalion, and with 6 RAR and 2/14 Light Horse (QMI) is one of three deployable Battle Groups in the brigade.
In late-February 2010, 130 soldiers from the battalion’s ‘A’ Company took over responsibility of the Timor Leste Task Group, replacing 2 RAR in East Timor. This force was rotated back to Australia in June 2010 after a four-month deployment, and was replaced by ‘B’ Company, 8/9RAR. The battalion has also contributed small numbers of personnel to Operations Slipper, Anode, Pakistan Assist, and was heavily involved in search and rescue efforts during the 2010–2011 Queensland floods, deploying to its emergency support force on short notice to Grantham in the Lockyer Valley. By mid-2011, 8/9 RAR had grown to comprise a battalion headquarters, three rifle companies and an operational support company.
Between January 2012 and June 2012, 8/9 RAR deployed to Uruzgan Province, Afghanistan as the core of MTF-4.
In 2015–16, members of 8/9 RAR deployed on two consecutive rotations of Operation Okra in Iraq and Operation Highroad in Afghanistan.
The battalion lanyard is coloured Slate Grey ( RGB 112,128,144) and Beech Brown (RGB 87, 51, 32) and these colours are used elsewhere in sporting uniforms and the like. The official battalion march is The Brown and Grey Lanyard, but the unofficial march is Black Bear with a boisterous ‘OY’ inserted in the appropriate places. The 8/9 RAR mascot is a stud merino ram officially named John Macarthur (currently John Macarthur VII), after the Australian wool pioneer, but known affectionately to the diggers as ‘Stan the Ram’.