Stuart Prison (Internees holding camp)
Stuart Creek Correctional facility
- Internment/POW facility
Off Southwood Road, Stuart 4811
During the early stages of the European War with Germany and Italy, Stewart Creek Gaol served as a temporary internment facility for the North Queensland Italian community. Whilst transport to southern internment camps was being organised, up to seven hundred internees were held in a gaol designed for one hundred and fifty. Many of these Italians had resided in North Queensland for a number of years.
During the July 1942 air raids on Townsville, inmates voiced disapproval that the gaolers were potential 'murderers' keeping them locked in their cells during an air raid. Former Superintendant John Stephenson states in Nor Iron Bars A Cage that warders would have happily exchanged places with the prisoners as the cells were probably the safest shelters in the district.
In 1942, Colonel Patterson, the US Provost Marshal was given approval to use Stewart Creek gaol as an auxiliary to the Garbutt stockade.
The Garbutt stockade held military prisoners that were awaiting execution, court martial or were considered to be violent. Other offenders were at Garbutt before being transferred to Fort Leavenworth’s Disciplinary Barracks in the US.
Stephenson states that these military prisoners were usually well behaved in the gaol as they were no longer subject to the harsh military discipline that was enforced on them while at the Garbutt stockade.
Stephenson, John R. Nor Iron Bars A Cage, Boolarong Publications, Ascot, 1982
Stewart’s Creek Gaol (former) Queensland Heritage Register citation no.601250