United States Army Petroleum and Oil Store Depot
United States Base Section 3 Oil and Fuel Store
- Supply facility
- Greater Brisbane
2 Amelia Street, Nundah 4012
On 20 July 1942, US General Douglas MacArthur transferred his Australian headquarters (HQ) of the South-West Pacific Area (SWPA) command from Melbourne to Brisbane. Brisbane was chosen as it possessed major port facilities; was a rail hub; and was closer to the frontline in Papua and New Guinea. Thus Brisbane became a major Allied base during the Pacific War, of equal significance to Pearl Harbour (Central and Northern Pacific commands HQ) and Bombay (South-East Asia command HQ).
This petroleum and oil store was an example of the military infrastructure that the American forces constructed in Brisbane so as to develop it as an important logistical base and as the SWPA headquarters.
A US Army petroleum and oil storage complex was proposed for Nundah due to its close proximity to both the US air base at Eagle Farm and the railway that connected to north Queensland. As the complex was to store highly inflammable material, a site was chosen at the end of Amelia Street because it was surrounded on three sides by swampland. This would limit the spread of any possible fires to any neighbouring houses. The site was also fairly isolated as the nearest residences were six houses located further along Franklin Street.
Mr. T.B. Payne of the Queensland Government’s Surveyor & Property Office completed building plans and a site survey for the petroleum depot on 6 February 1943. A United States building inspector, Mr. Wagner, oversaw the planning of the site together with Payne.
The Commonwealth Government’s Department of the Interior undertook construction. The site was operated by the US 202nd Signal Depot Company led by Major Worden.
The US Army Petroleum Store comprised 15 structures. The central warehouse (the pre-fabricated igloo-style Building 1) was 104 feet long and 200 feet wide (31.7 m by 60.9 m) and had a concrete floor. Completing the complex were a small office building, five guard huts, two checkers’ huts, one general-purpose hut, two male latrines, one female latrine, one dressing shed and a bathhouse. The main entrance to the Petroleum Store was via Nudgee Road that ran straight to Eagle Farm.
By mid-1944, MacArthur’s US forces were moving their support base from Brisbane to Hollandia in Dutch New Guinea. So a topographical site plan was made of the site on 19 June 1944, in preparation for its hand over to the Australian Government.
National Archives of Australia
US Army Telephone Directory October 1943.