In fact, Gallasch came first in her class and, in 2013, became the first female commandant of Duntroon, which had at one time prohibited women. In this DigiTale, released for Women’s History Month 2022, volunteer researcher Michele Harper canvasses the accomplishments of the Canberra-born serviceperson.
In 1984, Brigadier Dianne Gallasch – together with 32 other officer cadets – enrolled in the final WRAAC class to graduate at Georges Heights. At the time, women were trained seperately from men and were barred from Duntroon. Until 1985, officer training for women was conducted separately from male recruits, and women were not permitted to enrol in officer training at either Duntroon or Portsea.
Upon graduating, Gallasch won the Lady Cutler Trophy for being the top student in her office training course. She also received the Chief Instructor’s Prize as well as accolades for leadership, academic performance, peace administration, military skills, and military history.
Life before the army
Prior to joining the army, Gallasch, had completed a Bachelor of Science and worked at the Jon Curtin School of Medical Research.
After Graduating from Georges Heights, Brigadier Gallasch was posted to the Royal Australian Army Ordinance Corps and specialised in combat supplies in the logistics area. During her early days in the army, Gallasch completed a Masters of Applied Science in Food Science, which qualified her for specialist roles including Senior Inspector Foodstuffs.
While rising through the ranks, Gallasch was appointed to the positions of Commanding Officer of the Soldier Career Management Agency and Chief of Staff, Joint Education, Training and Warfare command.
In 2003, Gallasch was made a Member of the Order of Australia, while serving as a Lieutenant Colonel, commanding officer and chief instructor of the personnel support division at the Army Logistics Training Centre.
In recognition of her work as director of general support of Joint Operations Command, Brigadier Gallasch was awarded the Conspicuous Service Cross in the Queen’s 2012 Birthday Honours List. In 2014, she also received a Commendation for Distinguished Service for her service in the Middle East.
During her distinguished military career, Brigadier Gallasch undertook deployments to East Timor, and the Middle East. The deployment to Iraq in 2007, as part of a multi-national force, offered Brigadier Gallasch experience that would complement senior roles she would hold later in her career, including Director-General Support for Joint Operations Command.
In April 2013, Brigadier Gallasch was named the first female commandant of the Royal Military College, Duntroon and took up the position in July of that year. The College was comprised of three organisations – the Royal Military College Duntroon, the Army Recruit Training Centre at Kapooka, and the Land Warfare Centre at Canungra. Brigadier Gallasch retired from the Defence Services after 33 years of distinguished service and now undertakes consultancy and advisory work.
Brigadier Gallasch joined the army when women were segregated into the WRAAC and had limited roles and careers in the army. In under thirty years, Brigadier broke through these barriers and finished her career as the Commandant of an organisation she was once precluded from joining.
- The Canberra Times, Tuesday 18 December 1984, page 9.
- Ellery David, Duntroon to have first female commandant. The Canberra Times - April 20, 2013.
- University of Western Sydney, In service of the nation. GradLife. Volume 6, Issue 1. Autumn 2014, page 25.
Article was originally published on 1 March 2022.