The Australian Army first established a large training camp 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) east of the township during the First World War. During the Second World War, the eastern camp diminished in importance and a substantially larger and more permanent military township was established 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) to the west at Puckapunyal.
Broadmeadows was the site of the main camp for the reception and training of recruits for the AIF from Victoria early in the First World War. Broadmeadows had been identified as a possible site for military training in 1913, but no facilities had been established. The camp was established in August 1914 at "Mornington Park", a property loaned to the government by Mr R.G. Wilson. Early on, Broadmeadows was predominantly a tented camp and conditions were quite spartan. These facilities, combined with wet weather and poor drainage resulted in a rapid increase in sickness among recruits in autumn 1915. Public concern, fuelled by sensationalist press coverage, resulted in a decision in May 1915 to re-establish the main Victorian training camp at Seymour, approximately 100 kilometres north of Melbourne. Broadmeadows Camp remained in use throughout the war, however, with facilities being progressively improved