301 & 126 Signal Squadrons

The requirement for long-range communications can be traced back to WWII and units such as Coastwatchers, New Guinea Air Warning Wireless Company, the Independent Companies, and Z Special Unit.

The requirement for long-range communications can be traced back to WWII and units such as Coastwatchers, New Guinea Air Warning Wireless Company, the Independent Companies, and Z Special Unit.

 On 30 April 1958, a decision was made to raise No 1 Independent Signals Squadron to support clandestine operations and this led to the formation of 301st Signal Squadron (Home Defence) in 1960 at Lidcombe, New South Wales.


This new squadron was to meet the requirement for 'special communications' and was charged with the responsibility of providing long-range communications for commando-type operations and was augmented with regular army members in 1963. In December 1964, 301st Signal Squadron was re-designated 126th Signal Squadron, later to 126th Signal Squadron (Special Forces) in January 1966, and subsequently relocated to Albert Park, Victoria, then in 1972 to Simpson Barracks in Watsonia, Victoria. Women had been serving in the signals squadron since 1964 as cipher clerks and from 1968 as radio operators. In 1978, the signals squadron was provided with approval to wear the green beret with the Corps of Signals badge. In 1981, signaller Kerry Hiam became the first woman to qualify and be awarded a green beret.