US Army Remount Depot
- Military camp
Off Flinders Highway towards Mt Elliott, Rocky Springs 4810
The Remount depot was a facility primarily run by the US Army. It consisted of up to 5000 Australian 'Waler' breed horses by June 1943 and 200 mules. Horses were sourced from properties all over Queensland. The depot also catered for injured horses under Troop A, 251st Quartermaster Remount Squadron. Admissions for disease and injury amounted to over 1000 cases.
The horses and mules were trained as pack animals for operation in New Guinea and the South Pacific. Horses were swapped for mules in the Guadalcanal campaign as they were found to be more suitable.
As a pastoral area Townsville did have its drawbacks with climate and infections, however it did help the animals acclimatise before heading north. Australian and US veterinarians were used to inspect the animals and arrange shipment by sea or rail.
Herbert C Jaffa, a former US Officer recalls driving out to Rocky Springs in 1942 and seeing:
Thousands of them, unsaddled, huddled in clusters or galloping in groups, their shining hides of browns and tans flashing throughout the wide reaches of an immense paddock that seemed to extend to a horizon established by the rising hills of Mt Elliot.
Jill Mather. The Old Campaigners: Commemorating the role of the Waler Horse, Camels, Mules and Donkeys used by the Australians and New Zealanders at War. Bookbound Publishing, 2008.
Herbert C Jaffa. Townsville at War. A Soldier Remembers. Foundation for Australian Literary Studies, English Department, James Cook University of North Queensland, 1992
The North Queensland Line: The Defence of Townsville in 1942". Ray Holyoak unpublished
Honours Thesis, James Cook University, Townsville 1998.