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1.0 Introduction

This article provides an overview of the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) School of Physical Training and Physical Training Instructors (PTI).

2.0 Brief History

The Royal Australian Navy School of Physical Training (RANSPT) was not established “until 1923” (Wilson, 1984, p.67; Morley, 2017), although there are examples prior to this of PTI’s on-board ships (e.g. HMAS Encounter) and at the naval college in Geelong when it opened in 1913 (Wilson, 1984).

It is believed that the RANSPT was “the first institution to conduct formal physical training in Australia.”, adopting the Swedish Method which had been in use in the Royal Navy since 1902. (Wilson, 1984, p.67).

The first formal RAN trained PTI’s graduated in 1924 (Wilson, 1984).

In 2015, the then Director General Navy People commissioned a review into the PT branch, focussing on (DRFT, 2018):

  • The appropriate number of PTIs in the right locations;
  • An effective branch structure to ensure a coordinated approach; and
  • The best personnel options for the workforce.

In 2017, the Navy Physical Training Instructor workgroup published a review whose remit was to provide recommendations on improving PTI capabilities, and fitness and resilience in RAN personnel (DRFT, 2017; Morley, 2017). The review focussed on four areas:

  • Providing appropriate numbers of personnel in correct locations;
  • Workgroup restructuring;
  • New competencies and programmes, and
  • Improved leadership and mentoring.

In October 2017, the review’s 13 recommendations were approved, with implementation beginning in November (Morley, 2017).

In 2017, the RAN “…formally adopted the nomenclature of ‘Physical Training Instructor’ (from ‘Physical Trainer’) to also ensure commonality across the three Services.” (DRFT, 2018, p.2).

3.0 Rank Structure of the PT Branch

The following is an outline of the rank structure for RAN PTI’s:

  • Leading Seaman Physical Training (LS PT).
  • Petty Officer Physical Training (PO PT).
  • Chief Petty Officer Physical Training (CPO PT).
  • Warrant Officer Physical Training (WO PT).
  • Lieutenant Physical Training (LT PT).
  • Lieutenant Commander Physical Training (Lt Cdr PT).

4.0 Postings

RAN PTI’s will undertake a mixture of shore- and sea-based postings. Whilst at sea, PTI’s will undertake a variety of roles including (McDonald, 2017):

  • Plan, organise and deliver physical training to the ship’s company.
  • Maintaining gym equipment.
  • “…keeping watch on the bridge as a quartermaster…”
  • “…being in charge of the forward repair team.”
  • “…looking after the ship’s café…”
  • “…facilitate adventure training activities or day tour for the ship’s different departments.”

5.0 References

DRFT (Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal). (2017) Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal Determination No. 12 of 2017, Salaries — Navy employment categories — amendment. 22 December 2017.

DRFT (Defence Force Remuneration Tribunal). (2018). Decision: Royal Australian Navy – Physical Training Instructor (Matter 11 of 2018). 04 October 2018.

Morley, D. (2017) Physical Training Instructors Review for the Future. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 02 January, 2019].

Wilson, L.G. (1984) Chapter 15 – Physical Training and Sport in HMAS Nirimba. Skilled Hands at Sea: The Story of Her Majesty’s Australian Ship Nirimba, and Naval Training in New South Wales, 1885-1983. Quakers Hill, New South Wales: HMAS Nirimba Heritage Trust. Available from World Wide Web: [Accessed: 02 January, 2019].