Wacol, A-9 Airstrip/RAAF Emergency Landing Ground
- Brisbane City
Coolbart Street, Carole Park 4300
An airstrip was cleared at Gailes for the Americans in 1942. Although several hideouts for aircraft were constructed, the airfield was a poor site and was soon abandoned. It was later categorised as a Relief Landing Ground (RLG) and Crash Strip by the RAAF.
The northwest end of the graded section of the airstrip was located just north of Tile Street, east of its intersection with Boundary Road, while the southeast end was located between Doreen Crescent and Sinclair Drive, north of Southampton Road. Trees were also felled to clear approach areas beyond each end of the graded strip. No visible remnants of the airstrip exist.
Two large concrete slabs in bushland southwest of the intersection of Clendon Street and Waterford Road may have been related to the Darra Ordnance Ammunition Depot, which was located east of the airstrip.
The arrival of US forces in Queensland from late December 1941 led to an increased demand for airfields to accommodate US aircraft. Existing RAAF airfields were used, and new fields were also constructed.
The single airstrip at Gailes (also referred to as Wacol or A-9) was built in 1942, and the contractor MR Hornibrook was employed by the Americans to carry out construction of a hangar and associated camouflage work at the site around May 1942. It is likely that the “hangar” was an arched timber truss hideout, as “several unserviceable hideouts” were referred to on notes accompanying a RAAF Landing Ground map of Gailes (A-9) dated 10 May 1943 and updated in November 1943. On this map Gailes was initially labelled as an RLG (Relief Landing Ground) for Amberley and Archerfield, but it was relabelled as a Crash Strip by November 1943.
A RAAF inspection of Gailes in August 1943 reported a cleared and graded strip which was unserviceable due to the regrowth of plant suckers to 8′ (2.4m) high, log barricades and a “mine crater". The surface of the strip, aligned to 145 degrees (running SSE) and 5200′ long by 250′ wide (1584m by 76m), undulated; access was by a poor bush track from the Ipswich-Brisbane Road to the west, and there were no buildings (hideouts do not seem to have been classed as buildings in this report).
The plant suckers were removed in September 1943. However, in May 1944 it was noted that a large hole 25′ in diameter by 10′ deep (7.6m by 3m) existed in the centre of strip, about 500′ from the SE end.
A US report in April 1944 claimed that the (airstrip) project was abandoned after preliminary work, was declared open land, and that building had since been done on and around the strip, which was overgrown with scrub and unusable.
Post war the suburb of Carole Park was built over the site of the Gailes A-9 airstrip, and no trace of it remains.
Marks, RR. 1994. Queensland Airfields WW2—50 Years On, R and J Marks, Brisbane.
National Archives of Australia, 482. RAAF Directorate of Works and Buildings - Engineer Intelligence Section - Gailes (Wacol), Queensland. 1943–44.
National Archives of Australia, 32/22/1072. Beaufort A9-670 - Court of Inquiry re accident at Gailes Bombing Range on 10.4.1945
Brisbane City Council 1946 aerials.