Corps Headquarters, Volunteer Defence Corps (Qld)

Griffith House and City Mutual Building

Brisbane City

307-311 Queen Street, Brisbane 4000

For a time the VDC Northern Command HQ was located on the first floor of Griffith House (City Mutual Building) at 307–311 Queen St, Brisbane, before moving to 142 Creek Street. The Corps Headquarters for the VDC (Q) re-located to ‘E’ Block at Enoggera military camp by August 1943. 142 Creek Street was also the location of Army Depot, Women’s Recruiting during 1944.


The Volunteer Defence Corps was formed under the auspices of the Returned Services League in July 1940. The role of the VDC took some time to be recognised as an integral part of the Australian military forces. By August the VDC had 18 battalions forming across the state, and a Corps HQ was set up in October. Training was carried out with the assistance of instructors of the 2nd AIF and the Militia forces. From April 1941 the VDC was officially recognised by the Military Board, and its role and structure had be redefined. The age limits for the Corps were set at 18 to 60, forcing many older members, including the original Queensland Corps Commander, Brigadier-General Wilson to resign.

In December 1941 the Corps in Queensland numbered 9347 members. Early in that month full-time personnel were appointed to assist with training and administration. Recognising the rapid advance of Japanese forces posed a serious threat to the country, the Commonwealth Military Forces absorbed the VDC intact in February 1942. About 800 VDC members in Queensland were enlisted on fulltime duties at the same time, to provide guards on bridges, aerodromes, and other infrastructure, and to begin demolition preparations in case of Japanese invasion. Within a few months recruiting for the VDC had peaked at 17249 volunteers in Queensland comprising 22 battalions and the 23rd Regiment, a special northern mounted unit.

Early 1943 saw the reorganisation of ‘A’ Group in Brisbane into the Brisbane AA Group VDC(Q), responsible for anti-aircraft defence of the city. In April 1943 the VDC came under the command of First Australian Army (Ops and Trg) although it remained under the Queensland Lines of Communication Area for administration. The headquarters of ‘A’ Group, Volunteer Defence Corps (VDC) was located in Customs House, 436 Queen Street, Brisbane by July 1943. At the end of the year the year the War Cabinet had decided that the VDC should concentrate on its role manning search-lights, anti-aircraft, and coastal defences, freeing regular army troops from those tasks.


AWM 52 [36/1/5]
Burke, Arthur, 'Hosting the Allied Invasion', RHSQ Report, 1993