Area 5 (Artillery units)
- Military camp
North Coast Railway, Dayboro Road, Sidling Creek, and Lyons Road, Petrie 4500
Camp Strathpine was occupied by the US 1st Cavalry Division from mid 1943 to early 1944, and the camp was subsequently used by the 7th Division, 2nd Australian Imperial force (2nd AIF).
Area 5 was the Divisional Artillery area, in Petrie. This was bounded by the North Coast Railway, Dayboro Road, Sidling Creek, and Lyons Road.
Camp Strathpine was built between December 1942 and July 1943 to accommodate the US 1st Cavalry Division, one of the four US Divisions (also including the 24th, 32nd and 41st Divisions) which trained in Queensland before being sent to New Guinea. The main body of the 1st Cavalry Division arrived in Brisbane on 26 July 1943 on the troopships USS George Washington and USS Monterey, an advanced echelon having arrived in late June on board the USS Maui. The 1st Cavalry, under Major General Innis P. Swift, was shipped as a Light Infantry division of 15,000 men equipped with vehicles instead of horses, and was assigned to the US Sixth Army.
Camp Strathpine was constructed by US troopers and Australian civilians, and the area’s forests, undergrowth, streams and ravines were used for jungle training. The men of the division also received amphibious warfare training at Toorbul Point, with practice landings on Bribie Island, while some trained at Port Stephens in NSW. Accommodation for most of the men was in tents, although the camp had plenty of buildings, including latrines, ablutions, shower enclosures, kitchens, canteens, recreation huts, water and power supply buildings, mess sheds and shelters, warehouses, various huts and store buildings, offices (at the HQ), picture theatres, and a prison stockade. Some log cabins were also built as mess halls.
Although the original design of the camp intended to make maximum use of natural cover, the felling of trees to erect rows of tents negated this plan. Tented areas had pathways gravelled with log edges, with logs also laid around the tents, while trees and stumps were painted white to 4′ (1.2m) high, to assist night navigation around the camp. The main fresh water pumping plant for the camp was at Gordon’s Crossing, with another pumping station at Young’s Crossing.
The site of Camp Strathpine stretched from Lakeside Road near Dakabin Station in the north to just south of the South Pine River at Albany Creek. However, the actual camp sites for units consisted of six main areas.
Area 5 was the artillery area in Petrie. This was bounded by the North Coast Railway to the east, Dayboro Road to the south, Sidling Creek to the west, and around the area of Lyons Road in the north. It was based around Frenchs Road (then called Juarez Street), Bellview Road (then called Plaza Del Toros), Torrens Road (then called Mayo Street), and the no longer extant Comancho Street, Quione Street and Pancho Villa Street. The Field Artillery (FA) Battalions camped here included the 61st, 82nd, 99th, and after October 1943, the 271st. Eventually, each battalion received 105mm guns. The artillery units had a firing range at Flinders, Clear Mountain (to the west of Camp Strathpine), and the “Grasshopper” spotter aircraft of the division’s artillery used, among other places, the Strathpine A1 and A3 airstrips (at Lawnton and Brendale respectively).
In addition to the camp sites, training facilities included two grenade ranges in Cashmere: one east of Four Mile Creek adjacent to Area 3 (west of Lilley Road) and one north of Winn Road. There were also two mortar ranges in Cashmere: one near One Mile Creek, south of Ira Buckby Road West; and another astride Winn Road.
The 1st Cavalry departed for Oro Bay in New Guinea between late December 1943 and late February 1944, to prepare for landing in the Admiralty Island Group as part of Operation Cartwheel—a campaign of 10 separate operations conducted during the second half of 1943 and early 1944 as part of General MacArthur’s plan to neutralise the major Japanese base at Rabaul. Troops from both MacArthur’s South West Pacific Area and Admiral Chester W. Nimitz’s Pacific Ocean Areas command participated in this twin-axis advance.
After the departure of the 1st Cavalry, Camp Strathpine was used by Australian forces, including the 7th Division, 2nd Australian Imperial Force (2nd AIF). Before heading to New Guinea in late 1942 the 7th Division had been based in Woodford, with its 18th brigade in Kilcoy, 21st Brigade in Woombye, and 25th Brigade at Caboolture; during early 1943 the division trained on the Atherton Tableland before returning to New Guinea, and in 1944 the division trained at Strathpine. Other Australian units which spent time at Strathpine included the 26, 31/51, and 55/53 Infantry Battalions of the 11th Brigade (Militia); the 36th Infantry Battalion (Militia); the 2/1st Machine Gun Battalion; the 2/2 and 2/3 Anti-Aircraft Regiments and the 17th Advanced Ordnance Depot.
Since the end of World War II most of the campsites of Camp Strathpine have been developed for housing, and some fringes of the larger camp area have been submerged by Lake Samsonvale and Lake Kurwongbah. Over the years a number of artefacts have been recovered from Area 3 prior to development, and these have included items such as: live and expended ammunition (9mm, .303, .45, .50, 37mm); cutlery, US First Aid packets, bottles and jars, buttons, Australian coins and home made dog tags, Australian hat badges and shoulder bars, metal belt loops from webbing, fob watch parts, anti-gas ointment tubes, a rifle cleaning brush, rifle oil bottles, a piece of US uniform and a 1st Cavalry Division shoulder patch. Some finds have been donated to the Pine Rivers Museum at Old Petrie Town.
A few larger remnants still existed in 2009, mostly on private land. These include tent line mounds and a couple of concrete slabs in Area 1, east of Forgan Road, to north of Samsonvale Road; some concrete slabs in Area 2, located west of Ira Buckby Road and east of Kurrajong Drive; a deep trench latrine and concrete slabs in Area 3, south of Kremzow Road; a bread oven in Starling Street Park, Warner; and concrete slabs and a culvert in the northeast part of Area 4, either side of Kremzow Road.
See also Camp Strathpine (Main page)
Spethman, DW; Miller, RG; Deighton, LJ, October 2000. Divisional Camp- Strathpine, 1943-45. US 1st Cavalry Division, Australian 7th Division (2nd AIF). Fort Lytton Historical Association Inc.
Charlton, P. 1991. South Queensland WWII 1941–45, Boolarong, Brisbane.
Boudreau, WH. 2002. 1st Cavalry Division—a spur ride through the 20th Century, from horses to the digital battlefield. Turner Publishing Company, Paducah, KY.
Casey, Hugh J., ed. 1951, “Volume VI: Airfield and Base Development", Engineers of the Southwest Pacific 1941–1945, Washington, D.C, United States Department of the Army.
National Archives of Australia, Folder O to S Folio 63. Strathpine Camp Military Area - Roads and Facilities of Unit Areas - Site Plan [1/S/40]. 1945
National Archives of Australia LS705. Strathpine camp area 1942.
Dunn, P. Camp Strathpine in Brisbane
DERM archaeological site reconnaissance 1 October 2009.
Australian War Memorial Photographic Collection.
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