80 years supporting Defence

Downer Defence Systems (DDS) works with the Department of Defence to assist them with some of
the most complex projects and programs in the nation.


The business has recently been promoting Downer’s credentials as the heir to an 80-year legacy of supporting Defence; tracing Downer’s roots with Defence back to 1941 when our antecedent companies, Walkers Limited and Evans Deakin Industries, were among those that constructed the Bathurst Class corvettes (pictured, main image) for the Royal Australian Navy.

Earlier this year, DDS’ Executive General Manager, Andrew Foster, delivered a speech at a major defence industry conference: the Australian Defence Magazine Congress – where Downer was a gold sponsor.  In his address to the assembled Commonwealth and industry attendees he outlined Downer’s historic contribution to Defence in the context of Australian Industry Capability and sovereign capability: two important concepts in the defence industry.

“For the past 80 years Downer has worked with Defence to build ships, upgrade systems, and provide a highly skilled workforce to complement the public sector and uniformed workforce,” Andrew said.

“Our hope is that the next 80 years will see more of the same, for although the platforms and capability will change, our commitment and expertise will never waver.”

Beyond sponsorships and industry addresses, Downer has been promoting itself to Defence customers through the creation of its own unique challenge coins. But what is a challenge coin, you ask?

Challenge coins have been a part of military tradition since at least the World Wars, and with evidence of even earlier use. They are a form of commemorative token that was traditionally used as a type of unit identification – the coins being emblazoned with unit emblems – but that evolved over time into a collectable item that militaries, police forces, governments, companies and other groups exchange among themselves, their employees, and their important stakeholders to memorialise visits, special occasions, and other events of significance.

Downer’s 80 years coins have been very well received by the VIPs who have been gifted them so far, with a number of them now displayed in customers’ offices where they continue to stimulate conversation about Downer, our legacy, and our future. 

80 years supporting defence commemorative pins

Downer 80 years supporting defence logo