Rocky Creek Igloo Theatre Hall

Type
Recreation/community
Region
Atherton Tablelands

Kennedy Highway, Rocky Creek 4357

The Rocky Creek Hospital Complex was in operation from October 1942 until September 1945, and some 30,000 patients were treated at this facility. Located on the southern side of the Kennedy Highway, almost five kilometres north of Tolga, the site includes a theatre (entertainment) igloo and remnants of part of the 2/2nd Army General Hospital (AGH) on Frazer Roadā€™s road reserve.

The main section of the igloo is corrugated iron clad, and has a curved auditorium roof 34 metres long and 17.4m wide. The interior trusses are made of native timber. Along each side of the curved wall there are seven dormer windows with iron sides and skillion roofs, fitted with window panes of Caneite. A gabled stage and backstage area, clad in corrugated asbestos cement sheeting, extends 8.6 metres from the southwest end of the igloo and is 22 metres wide.

Remnants of the 2/2nd AGH are visible either side of Frazer Road, which runs southeast from the igloo. These include ward concrete slabs with drainage and toilet outlets, bitumen road remnants, walkways, garden beds, terracing, and building material scatters. Traces of the roadways of 2/2nd AGH are also visible from the air, in the cane fields east of Frazer Road.

History

While the work hours for staff at the Hospital Complex were long, various facilities were provided for their enjoyment in the leisure time available. The complex included an open-air picture show, where bingo was often played before the main feature. There was also a log-cabin recreational room and a tennis court with an ant-bed floor. Others spent their time planting garden beds outside their quarters and the hospital wards. Movies were shown in the theatre igloo, constructed in 1943. A truck, with a projector on the back, would reverse up to the building along the built up driveway, so that the projector pointed towards the screen. Concerts and dances were also held in the building.

The staged closure of the Rocky Creek Hospital Complex began in 1944, and continued through to 1945. The 2/6th AGH was the first to close, in October 1944, followed by the 2/2nd AGH on 30 September 1945. Following the end of the war, military buildings at Rocky Creek were auctioned and either dismantled or relocated.

The Entertainment Igloo was purchased by Frank and Eileen Frazer in 1947. The stage was converted into a family home, in which the Frazers raised their 11 children. Following the death of her husband, Mrs Frazer stayed on at the igloo until 1995, when the igloo and land were donated to the Atherton Shire Council.

Source/comments

Rocky Creek World War Two Hospital Complex (former), Queensland Heritage Register 601815

Pearce, Howard. January 2009. WWII-NQ: A cultural heritage overview of significant places in the defence of north Queensland during World War II. EPA, Brisbane.

National Archives of Australia, 286/3. Atherton Tableland Base Area, December 1942-November 1944.

National Archives of Australia, ST285 Sheet 1, ST285 Sheet 2, ST285 Sheet 3, Rocky Creek 1200 bed hospital 1943.

Australian Army Hospital & Medical Base, Rocky Creek 1942ā€“1946 WWII, and Australian Army 2/1st Convalescent Depot- Rocky Creek, 1943-1946, Site maps compiled by MW Alcock, 1995.

Australian War Memorial Images

Google Maps