Prior to the formation of 1RTU the training of recruits was performed across a number of training units across Australia, With the establishment of 1RTU on 2 August 1954 at RAAF Base Richmond (near Sydney) the training of recruits was centralised to a single unit. The unit then relocated a number of times, firstly to RAAF Base Rathmines (near Newcastle) on 28 April 1958, then to RAAF Base Wagga on 30 November 1960, RAAF Base Edinburgh (near Adelaide) on 27 March 1964 and then back to RAAF Base Wagga in 2008.
In 1950 the Women’s Royal Australian Air Force (WRAAF) was established. Training of WRAAF recruits was undertaken separately to male recruits entering the RAAF. Early training of female recruits was undertaken in several locations until a WRAAF Recruit Training Flight was eventually incorporated into 1RTU on 21 July 1965. With the absorption of the WRAAF into the RAAF in 1977 the function of training female recruits was transferred to Women's Training Unit (WTU) in Tottenham (near Melbourne) on 13 June 1976. After a second move to RAAF Laverton from January 1977 until January 1981 WTU was disbanded and the responsibility of training both male and female recruits was vested in 1RTU at RAAF Base Edinburgh.
In 1975, Her Majesty The Queen approved the unit badge and motto “Across the Threshold” with the two headed Roman god ‘Janus’ the god of gateways and the protector of all beginnings. A motto considered most appropriate to the function of 1RTU.
On the 4th October 1989, His Excellency, The Honourable Bill Hayden, AC, Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, presented the Governor-Generals Banner to 1 Recruit Training Unit. The presentation of the Governor-Generals Banner is awarded to recognise the achievements and service of non-operational units that are ineligible for Squadron Standards but which have completed 25 years service. The awarding of the Governor Generals Banner to 1RTU was a positive recognition of the contribution of the unit to the effectiveness of one of the worlds finest Air Forces. The 1RTU Governor Generals Banner is now regularly paraded on graduation parades throughout the year.