6 (387th) Australian Heavy Anti-Aircraft (HAA) Battery

6 Heavy Anti-Aircraft Group

Type
Fortifications
Region
Brisbane City

580 Wynnum Road, Morningside 4170

This site was an integral part of the Australian Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery system designed to protect Brisbane in the event of enemy air raids during World War II. After the raid on Darwin in February 1942, many felt that as Brisbane was the largest city in Queensland, it would be the next to experience a large-scale raid by the Japanese. It was one of limited number of four gun anti-aircraft positions sited along the Brisbane River. Only the sites at Lytton, Hemmant and Balmoral are known to survive.

History

The 6 [387th] Australian Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery (or 6 HAA Group) was constructed in 1942, as part of a program to monitor and prevent aircraft entering Brisbane airspace using the Brisbane River as a navigational aid. Its role was also to protect Allied facilities located along the river, including airfields, camps, a submarine base and their associated stores. The 6 HAA Group was a collection of “A class” (four static guns) defensive positions. These included; Colmslie [385] (also known as Lytton), Victoria Park [386], Balmoral [387], Pinkenba [388], Hendra [389], Hemmant [390], Amberley [391], and Archerfield [392].

The Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery was of the standard four-gun emplacements, with magazines and a central control room. The position was armed with four 3.7-inch static AA guns, the standard medium British anti-aircraft gun. A gun crew usually consisted of 10-12 men. The guns were controlled by a centrally located, semi-underground command post/plotting room. This contained instruments such as the spotter’s telescope, a height/range finder and a predictor.

Personnel at the site consisted of both 6th Australian Heavy Anti-Aircraft and VDC (Volunteer Defence Corp) personnel from mid 1943. AWAS (Australian Women’s Army Service) were involved in operating instruments such as range finding and spotting, but generally not in the firing of the guns. In 1944 personnel on the battery had diminished to a care and maintenance role and for training purposes. In August 1945 all HAA sites in Brisbane were disarmed and abandoned.

This former 6 [387th] Battery is located adjacent to the Balmoral Cemetery, in bushland controlled by Brisbane City Council. It was located at this position because of its elevation and proximity to the Brisbane River. At some time since the war some of the emplacements have been damaged, the concrete broken down to ground level and the emplacements filled in. It appears that the magazines may no longer exist, however the entire position has not been thoroughly surveyed to determine its overall intactness.

Source/comments

BCC Heritage Unit citation.