Enoggera Army Camp and Barracks
Gallipoli Barracks/Enoggera Military Area
- Military camp
- Greater Brisbane
300 Samford Road, Enoggera 4051
Enoggera Army Camp was Brisbane’s largest established permanent military camp prior to World War Two. As such, it role in the early stages of the war was to train and equip state militia units; and then Queensland volunteers for the 2nd Australian Imperial Force (AIF) that was being raised for overseas service. Throughout the war, it operated as a training camp run by Queensland’s Northern Command, with a variety of specialist Army courses run by units based at Enoggera. It also had a unique Captured Equipment Depot that stored and assessed Japanese military hardware.
At Federation in 1901, the Commonwealth took responsibility for Queensland’s defences. In 1908, the Commonwealth bought 1,235 acres of land at Enoggera, then an outer and largely undeveloped part of Brisbane. That year, a rifle range was established. This was followed by the School of Musketry instruction building, a small-arms store plus two cordite [artillery] magazines (1910–11), a laboratory (1912), four small-arms ammunition magazines plus an Australian Light Horse Remount Depot (1913), a fifth small-arms ammunition magazine (1914–15), an Officers’ Quarters (1915), a hospital complex including a gymnasium (1916) and a Royal Australian Field Ambulance (RAFA) administration building (1917). The majority of buildings were built of brick to denote their permanency. A concrete sixth small-arms ammunition magazine was added in 1926. The building complex with its pathways was known as Enoggera Army Camp while the open space training fields were known as the Enoggera Military Area. The railway reached Rifle Range (Gaythorne) in 1916 and a spur line was extended into the camp.
After the start of World War II, Enoggera Army Barracks housed militia units immediately called into service. It also provided training facilities for the Australian Military Forces (AMF or militia) and the Australian Imperial Forces (AIF) units based at the nearby Grovely Camp. On 4 October 1940, The Telegraph reported that the 61st Battalion had marched from the Kelvin Grove Military Reserve to join the 25th, 31st and 42nd Battalions plus the Australian Army Service Corps (AASC), Australian Army Ordnance Corps (AAOC), Field Ambulance and Brigade Signals units at Enoggera. Fresh horses were delivered to the Remount Depot for the 11th Light Horse regiment, the Field Brigade and, later, the 2/14th Light Horse regiment. A military post office was established for the official censor to examine all mail leaving the camp. Local children were paid to run errands for soldiers in camp. Children collected spent cartridges from the rifle range to sell for scrap.
The Enoggera Military Area was utilised as a training camp and later, as a staging camp for troops being transferred between units or being despatched to differing war fronts. The initial training courses covered topics that proved irrelevant in World War II, such as dealing with enemy gas attacks. In 1939, Lieutenant-Colonel R.H. Sainsbury ran a militia signals course. During late 1940, the 2/24th Brigade of the ill-fated AIF 8th Division occupied the Military Area. They lived in tents and practiced on the rifle range. Formed in July and led by Brigadier E.C.P. Plant, 2/24th Brigade comprised the 2/28th Battalion, the 2/32nd Battalion and the2/43rd Battalion. The brigade was not sent to Singapore with the 8th Division but instead was sent to Egypt in December to be part of the 9th Division AIF. Before its departure, the Governor General Lord Gowrie inspected the brigade at Enoggera Camp.
In 1941, extra Commonwealth funding was approved to expand the facilities, particularly vehicle storage, at Enoggera. The Camp hosted the Queensland Lines of Communication Area Junior Leaders School. Enoggera ran courses for non-combat, support units. In June-July 1941, a quartermaster course for NCOs was held there. A Central Cookery School operated during 1941. Soon after the outbreak of the Pacific War on 8 December 1941, all schools within a two-mile radius of the camp were temporarily closed as an air raid precaution.
By 1942, Queensland had been designated as an operational command (Northern Command) that had its headquarters at Victoria Barracks, Petrie Terrace. The School of Musketry became the Northern Command Training School. This instruction building was used to conduct lessons in military tactics to officers, Non Commissioned Officers (NCOs) and other ranks. After 1942, the 1st Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS) School for NCOs was placed at Enoggera. The 6th & 7th AWAS units were billeted nearby in the requisitioned Enoggera Anglican Boys Home. The AWAS supplied drivers for supply trucks and ambulances. The women were in charge of British-made Austin ambulances. These had been brought back after heavy use in the Western Desert campaigns and the AWAS provided mechanics to overall these vehicles. The 6th AWAS unit had previously been accommodated at Costin Street, Bowen Hills and at the University of Queensland’s Emmanual (womens') College at 465 Wickham Terrace, Spring Hill.
The demise of horsed units as a result of mechanisation saw the Australian Light Horse Remount Depot converted into standard barracks and stores buildings. As well, a number of prefabricated' Sydney Hill' design corrugated-iron huts were quickly constructed at the barracks and put into a variety of uses. These were meant as temporary buildings and all but one were demolished post-war. By 1943, the hospital complex was designated No.3 Camp Hospital. It included an infectious disease ward. In 1945, it was renamed the 2nd Field Hospital.
Army engineers based at Enoggera built an explosives dump in the Military Area in 1943. In 1945, 7th Base Ordnance Depot (BOD) operated from the Camp. In 1944, a salvage depot (Salvage Area) had been established where damaged Army vehicles and equipment were assessed for repair or their scrap metal value. In 1945, this depot expanded as it took responsibility for housing Japanese equipment recovered from New Guinea. This was called the Captured Equipment Depot.
By war’s end, Enoggera Military Camp had developed into the largest Australian Army establishment in Brisbane. The entire Military Area had been divided into nine sub-areas designated Camps A-H. The main gate was off Samford Road, with a second entrance established at Gray’s Road.
- Merle McGovern, Daphne Gibson & Des Mulroney, Cobbers - A history of suburban and military cohesion, (Noosa Heads: Debut Publishing, 2005 ).
- Lionel Wigmore, The Japanese Thrust - Australia in the War of 1939–1945, Series I (Army): Volume IV, (Canberra: Australian War Memorial, 1957).
- James Cubit Architects, Gallipoli Barracks Enoggera Master Plan Study, (Brisbane: James Cubit Architects, 1997).
- Peter Dunn Oz @ War website
- National Archives of Australia files