The Waverley College Cadet Unit (WCCU) has a long and proud history, being first raised in 1911 with Captain Holborrow and Sergeant-Major Clayfield as the first instructors.
Disbanded in 1929, it was reformed in 1941 with Lt N Monoghan as the Commander of 55 young recruits. Under the influential leadership of Captain T C McMahon (1942 – 47) the numbers grew to 345, and ‘Chapman Canes’ were awarded for the first time to A. Chapman, K. Coleman and L. Goodchild. In those days, training was concentrated on military techniques and weaponry formed a large part of the syllabus.
Before 1947, the Brothers were not members of the Unit. The first Brother to command the Unit was Major F D Marzorini between 1948–56. Other Brothers followed his lead, but Major Marzorini was posted back to the school in 1973 for a further 2 years. Brother Corbett succeeded him as OC in 1975, but the Federal Government under Mr Whitlam announced its decision to disband the Cadet Corps. The final ceremonial of that year witnessed the Unpiking of the Unit Flags and the Beating of Retreat at Queens Park.
The present Unit was reformed in 1977, with a strength of 250. The Commanding Officer since 1977 has been Lt. Colonel (AAC) PR Frost, the current Assistant Headmaster. He has served with the Unit since 1960 and was the joint recipient of the Chapman Cane in 1964 with General Peter Cosgrove. The Unit strength is now approximately 400 with all boys in Year 8 serving one year with the Unit.
In 1980, the Cadet Old Boys Association (COBA) was created to encourage a continuing interest among Old Boys in the activities of the Unit. Members of the Association assist the Unit in a wide range of activities, as well as providing a training resource for future Officers of Cadets (OOCs). Many OOCs currently on the Unit roll are Old Boys of the Unit. Several are members of the College Staff, while the remainder contribute their time whenever their employment allows.
Training in the 21st century bears little resemblance to that of the earlier Units, although the traditions of the Unit are maintained by the two major Ceremonials conducted each year: the ANZAC Commemoration and Mass and the Passing-Out Parade. Cadet Under Officers (CUOs), Warrant Officers in Year 12 and all OOCs are members of the Unit Mess which conducts three major social functions each year, The Reveille Dining-In Night in February, the Queen’s Birthday Dinner Dance in June and the Valedictory Mess in October.
The culmination of all Unit training is the Annual Field Exercise held in March. In the days when the Unit could attend the Army Camps at Singleton, the Unit’s efficiency was recognised by the Award of the AMP Shield in 1982 and 1983. At camp, the Year 9 cadets now carry out a one-day trek in parties of four in the Belanglo State Forest, where the Unit establishes a forward base separate from the main campsite.
The main camp at Douglas Park now forms part of a College residential program for 200 Year 8 boys, with the Unit providing support and services during their introduction to living in the field. Abseiling, Canoeing, Fieldcraft, Medics and Signals are the mainstays of the modern instructional program, but great emphasis is also placed on the ability of the senior ranks in running the camp administration.
The framework for the comprehensive leadership training provided in the Unit is laid down at annual Promotion Courses for Years, 9, 10 and 11 held each year in October at a residential location, while Specialists in Years 10, 11 and 12 receive their training in the July school holidays. The first-year cadets complete their training at a voluntary Recruit Progression Course in the first week of the Christmas holidays at the end of Year 8, resulting in promotion to Lance Corporal.