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World War II Timeline

1939

1 Jan 1939
  • Townsville City Council established an aerodrome on the Town Common near Garbutt rail siding.
1 Feb 1939
  • Australian scientists invited to London to be briefed on British radar technology.
1 Mar 1939
  • Women’s Voluntary National Register established through the department of Defence.
1 Apr 1939
26 Apr 1939
  • Robert Menzies elected leader of the UAP and sworn in as Prime Minister of Australia after the death of Joseph Lyons on 7 April.
1 May 1939
  • Department of Defence began early development of Townsville aerodrome for RAAF use.
1 Jun 1939
  • RAAF began search for a suitable Advanced Operational Base site on Cape York Peninsula near Coen.
1 Aug 1939
  • Australian Council of Scientific and Industrial Research established the Radiophysics Laboratory at Sydney University with radar research a high priority.
22 Aug 1939
  • First written consideration for the importation of chemical war gases.
31 Aug 1939
1 Sep 1939
  • In Britain, general mobilisation declared.
  • Germany invaded Poland.
3 Sep 1939
4 Sep 1939
  • Troops of 26 Infantry Battalion, 11 Brigade CMF, entered Kissing Point camp Townsville for two months training.
  • Far North Queensland Regiment (51 Infantry Battalion) and the Kennedy Regiment (31 Infantry Battalion) of 11 Brigade CMF entered camp at Townsville Showgrounds.
6 Sep 1939
  • South Africa declares war on Germany.
9 Sep 1939
  • Australian National Security Act passed.
11 Sep 1939
  • Arrival of first British troops in France officially announced.
13 Sep 1939
15 Sep 1939
  • Australian Federal government established a War Cabinet.
  • Australian Government announces mobilisation of the militia and the establishment of the second AIF for service abroad.
17 Sep 1939
  • The Russian Army invades Poland from the East with a million troops on the pretext of “protecting Poland’s Byelorussian and Ukrainian population”.
  • Australia, New Zealand and Canada signed the Empire Air Training Agreement in Ottawa to provide air pilots trainees for service with the RAF.
21 Sep 1939
  • RAAF No.11 Squadron formed at Richmond, NSW. The unit served at Cairns for most of the war. They flew Empire Flying Boats and Seagull V Amphibians.
28 Sep 1939
  • RAAF 11 Squadron flying boats moved base from Richmond to Port Moresby.
1 Oct 1939
  • German troops enter the devastated city of Warsaw.
  • Australian Army restructures into four new regional commands—Northern (QLD), Eastern, Southern, Western.
6 Oct 1939
  • A converted Passenger Liner was commissioned as HMAS KANIMBLA and was manned by Australians.
9 Oct 1939
  • Hitler issues orders for the invasion of France and the Low Countries.
13 Oct 1939
  • Newly acquired HMAS Hobart and five RAN destroyers from World War l sailed for service overseas with the Royal Navy.
20 Oct 1939
  • Militia conscription began in Australia.
6 Nov 1939
11 Nov 1939
  • Queen Elizabeth broadcasted a message to the women of the Empire, calling them to join the war effort.
15 Nov 1939
  • Building of Tribal class destroyer HMAS Arunta commenced in Sydney.
21 Nov 1939
  • British Prime Minister Chamberlain imposes an embargo on all German trade, with goods currently in Britain, but destined for shipment to Germany to be confiscated.
27 Nov 1939
  • Inauguration of the Empire Air Training Scheme—Over 37,000 Australian airmen trained under the scheme, in Australia, Canada and Rhodesia, one of the Commonwealth’s greatest achievements in wartime.
28 Nov 1939
  • Australian Federal government decided to send an expeditionary force overseas.
1 Dec 1939
  • The Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland Exhibition (The Ekka) Grounds were requisitioned by the army for training, accommodation and embarkation of troops.
    More information about where this took place.
  • Construction of Horn Island Airfield commenced.
4 Dec 1939
5 Dec 1939
  • First official RAAF operation of the Second World War—A Sunderland aircraft of No. 10 Squadron RAAF, flew as part of RAF Coastal Command against U-boats in the battle of the Atlantic.
18 Dec 1939
  • The first Canadian troops arrive in Britain.
26 Dec 1939
  • The first squadron of Australian airmen arrives in Britain.

1940

1 Jan 1940
  • Conscription for all unmarried men aged 21 years or older into the AMF began.
  • Gaythorne Internment and Prisoner of War Camp at the current Enoggera (Gallipoli) Army Barracks site was re-established.
    More information about where this took place.
4 Jan 1940
  • The 16th Australian Brigade marches through the streets of Sydney.
10 Jan 1940
  • First convoy of 2nd A.I.F. (6th Division) sails for Middle East.
17 Jan 1940
  • The Australian passenger ship WESTRALIA was commissioned into the RAN as HMAS WESTRALIA, an Armed Merchant Cruiser, AMC.
1 Feb 1940
  • Cairns City Council selected a civil aerodrome site on salt pans alongside Tom McDonald’s private strip at Aeroglen.
3 Feb 1940
  • A civilian was killed in Cairns, by a No.1 Garrison Battalion sentry, who was on duty as an oil tank guard, on the corner of Hartley and Sheridan Streets.
10 Feb 1940
  • Building of second Australian Tribal class destroyer HMAS Warramunga commenced in Sydney.
12 Feb 1940
  • First convoy of second AIF of the 6th Division reaches the Middle East—Australia’s first land campaign of the Second World War.
28 Feb 1940
  • Decision to form 7th Division of the AIF.
11 Mar 1940
  • A coal strike in New South Wales begins.
14 Mar 1940
  • United Australia Party-Country Party coalition formed.
15 Mar 1940
  • First two women from the Voluntary Aid Detachments organisation enlist in the AIF—Most Voluntary Aids transferred after August 1942 into the new Australian Army Women’s Medical Service.
23 Mar 1940
  • 51 Battalion entered Miowera camp near Bowen, joining 26 and 31 Battalions of 11 Brigade.
8 Apr 1940
  • A cyclone hit the Bowen area, dumping 26 inches of rain in 24 hours on the 11th Brigade fully tented campsite at Miowera. A majority of the tents were blown down, and much of the camp flooded.
9 Apr 1940
  • Germans invade Denmark and Norway.
10 Apr 1940
  • Neville Chamberlain resigned as British Prime Minister; replaced by Winston Churchill.
1 May 1940
  • Australia Defence Committee sought advice on coastal battery sites for Torres Strait.
9 May 1940
  • First German bombing raids on Britain.
10 May 1940
  • At 5.35am, the Wehrmacht begins ‘Operation Yellow’, the invasion of France, Holland, Belgium and Luxembourg.
11 May 1940
  • Allied troops land in Dutch West Indies.
15 May 1940
  • Holland surrenders.
  • RAF Bomber Command (Peirse) begins a strategic air offensive against targets inside Germany by attacking industrial installations in the Ruhr.
  • The Netherlands surrendered to Germany.
17 May 1940
  • 7 Division AIF under Major General John Lavarack arrived in Middle East.
22 May 1940
  • British cipher experts at Bletchley Park break the Luftwaffe Enigma code.
  • Australian 8th Division formed, but most of the division was lost in the fall of Singapore in February 1942.
26 May 1940
  • Operation ‘Dynamo’ the evacuation of British, French and Belgian troops from Dunkirk begins.
28 May 1940
  • Belgium formally surrenders to the Germans.
3 Jun 1940
  • Evacuation of 337,000 British, French and Belgium troops from Dunkirk completed.
4 Jun 1940
  • Churchill tells Commons “We shall fight on the beaches, in the fields, in the streets and in the hills. We shall never surrender”.
5 Jun 1940
  • The Germans begin ‘Operation Red’, the ‘Battle of France’ with 119 divisions, including 10 Panzer division’s.
6 Jun 1940
  • Air raids along many parts of East Coast of England.
10 Jun 1940
  • Italy declares war on Britain and France, effective from the 11th June 1940.
11 Jun 1940
  • Australia and New Zealand declare war on Italy.
  • 0900 hrs EST Australia’s war begins with Italy. Two Italian Merchant vessels were seized; the REMO at the port of Fremantle, and ROMOLO had sailed from Brisbane five days earlier, bound for Genoa.
  • Commonwealth Department of Munitions established.
12 Jun 1940
  • H.M.A.S. “Manoora” intercepts Italian ship “Romolo”. Italian captain gave orders to scuttle her and all crew were rescued.
13 Jun 1940
  • The German raider Orion lays mines off Auckland, New Zealand.
14 Jun 1940
  • German forces entered Paris.
15 Jun 1940
  • The Communist Party of Australia is declared as illegal.
16 Jun 1940
  • The Red Army occupies Latvia. Estonia is also occupied by the Soviet Union.
  • Second A.I.F. (portion of 6th Division) arrive in England
21 Jun 1940
  • Franco-German armistice negotiations begin at Compiegne, during which Hitler informs the French representatives of his terms in the same railway carriage as the German surrender was signed in 1918.
26 Jun 1940
  • Australian Federal government implemented special powers to take control of resources, production and manpower.
27 Jun 1940
  • Japanese troops occupy part of the Hong Kong peninsula.
  • German troops reach Franco-Spanish border.
28 Jun 1940
  • British government recognises de Gaulle as leader of ‘Free French’.
1 Jul 1940
  • Cairns civil aerodrome under construction by Main Roads Council.
4 Jul 1940
  • Italian bombers raid Alexandria, Egypt. Italian forces attack from Abyssinia and Eritrea.
9 Jul 1940
  • RAF begins night bombing of Germany.
10 Jul 1940
  • Battle of Britain began.
15 Jul 1940
  • Volunteer Defence Force (VDC) formed. Composed mainly of First World War veterans, was formed for home defence by the Returned and Services League (RSL).
16 Jul 1940
  • HMA Ships Stuart and Waterhenwere on screen at the bombardment of Bardia.
19 Jul 1940
  • HMAS “Sydney” sinks Italian cruiser “Bartolomeo Colleoni” in Mediterranean.
22 Jul 1940
  • Special Operations Executive (SOE) is created in order to encourage resistance across occupied Europe.
26 Jul 1940
  • Formation of the Royal Australian Air Force Nursing Service (RAAFNS).
1 Aug 1940
  • Papua and Mandated Territory of New Guinea became incorporated in the Australian defence system as the 8th Military District.
3 Aug 1940
  • Churchill warns nation against believing rumours that invasion threat is over.
4 Aug 1940
  • The Italians begin their invasion of British Somaliland.
6 Aug 1940
  • Goering sets the 10th August 1940 as ‘Eagle day’, the start of the Luftwaffe major offensive against the RAF and its Airfields.
7 Aug 1940
11 Aug 1940
  • The Battle of Britain begins in earnest with 400 German planes attacking channel convoys and the coastal areas of Britain including Dover, Weymouth and Portland.
13 Aug 1940
  • An air crash in Canberra kills three UAP ministers and Chief of the Australian General Staff.
19 Aug 1940
  • Mussolini orders Marshal Graziani to invade Egypt.
20 Aug 1940
  • Mao Tse-Tung launches ‘100 regiments’ guerrilla offensive against the Japanese in China.
  • Churchill famous speech in Parliament, ‘Never in the field of human conflict, was so much owed by so many, to so few’, refering to the aircrews of the Battle of Britain.
  • British vessel Turakina (8,706 tons) sunk by Orion between Sydney and Wellington
22 Aug 1940
  • Churchill dispatches a heavily armed convoy with 150 tanks to reinforce the middle east.
24 Aug 1940
  • Start of the Blitz on London begins with a lost formation of German bombers mistakenly dropping their bombs over the capital, damaging St. Giles and Cripplegate.
25 Aug 1940
  • First night-attack by RAF on Berlins industrial targets is made by 43 aircraft from RAF Bomber Command in retaliation for the accidental attack on London the night before.
1 Sep 1940
  • RAAF officer posted to Britain to examine tactical use of radar.
5 Sep 1940
  • First draft of Australian Empire Air Tarining Scheme (E.A.T.S.) trainees leaves Sydney for Vancouver (British Columbia), Canada.
6 Sep 1940
  • The official start of the London Blitz is initiated by the Germans, as they intentionally bomb the capital.
9 Sep 1940
  • German guns shell Dover.
13 Sep 1940
  • 5 Italian divisions and 200 tanks in cross the Libyan/Egyptian border. The British 7th Armoured and 4th Indian Divisions have orders to stand and fight.
16 Sep 1940
  • Italians halt their offensive into Egypt and begin to construct a number of fortified camps.
21 Sep 1940
  • The UAP, under Prime Minister Menzies, narrowly retained government in the federal election.
23 Sep 1940
  • HMAS Australia in action at Dakar, Senegal—HMAS Australia begins action against Vichy French at Dakar, West Africa.
  • Decision to form 9 Division of the AIF.
27 Sep 1940
  • Japan signs the pact with Germany and Italy, hoping to deter the USA from interfering in its affairs. The US now saw Japan as siding with the aggressors.
1 Oct 1940
  • Petrol rationing introducing in Australia (in place until February 1950)
  • Chermside Army Camp established.
    More information about where this took place.
  • Construction of Goods Island coastal battery in Torres Strait commenced.
7 Oct 1940
10 Oct 1940
  • 31st Battalion moved into Miowera camp near Bowen for a nine week training period. The 26th Battalion had centred its activities to the Kissing Point Fortress area, whilst the 51st Battalion moved to Parramatta Park at Cairns.
15 Oct 1940
  • RAAF 24 Squadron moved from Amberley to Garbutt, Townsville.
19 Oct 1940
  • 7 Division of the AIF sailed for the Middle East.
  • 7th Australian Division sails for the Middle East.
28 Oct 1940
  • Italy invaded Greece.
  • Cameron is replaced by Fadden as leader of the Australian Country Party.
30 Oct 1940
  • German raider Pinguin lays mines off south and east coasts of Australia. Three vessels are sunk.
31 Oct 1940
  • The Battle of Britain is considered over by the British Air Ministry.
8 Nov 1940
  • Italians begin big offensive in Albania.
12 Nov 1940
  • Germany prepares to enter war in Greece.
  • HMAS Sydney [II] in action at Strait of Otranto, Italy.
15 Nov 1940
  • Second A .I.F. in United Kingdom leave for Middle East
29 Nov 1940
  • British and New Zealand troops under General Freyberg occupy the whole of the Greek island of Crete in the Mediterranean.
1 Dec 1940
2 Dec 1940
  • 8 Division of the AIF sailed from Sydney to Malaya and Singapore.
12 Dec 1940
  • Garbutt aerodrome transferred from Townville City Council to Department of Defence for RAAF use.
21 Dec 1940
  • Bardia is surrounded by the 6th Australian Division.

1941

3 Jan 1941
  • 6th Division in action at Bardia, Libya. Australia’s first major ground campaign of the Second World War.
5 Jan 1941
  • Bardia captured—The Australian 6th Division captured 40,000 Italian prisoners, including four generals, at a cost of 130 killed and 326 wounded.
10 Jan 1941
  • ‘Lend Lease’ bill introduced. This allowed the fighting allies to pay the USA back in kind, but after the war.
21 Jan 1941
  • Battle of Tobruk. 6th Australian Division begins its attack.
22 Jan 1941
  • Tobruk surrenders to British and Australian troops. Combined British and Australian losses were about 450.
27 Jan 1941
  • Fighting at Derna, Libya, begins. Two brigades of the 6th Australian Division under Major General Iven Mackay pursued the Italians westwards and encountered an Italian rear guard at Derna.
30 Jan 1941
  • Australian troops capture Derna as the Italians begin to withdraw towards Benghazi.
1 Feb 1941
  • The US Navy is reorganised in to the Atlantic, Pacific and Asiatic fleets and ordered to gradually bring ship crews up to war establishment.
  • Plans are implemented to upgrade facilities and defences at Fort Bribie, on the northern tip of Bribie Island.
    More information about where this took place.
  • North-south runway on Horn Island completed as a gravel strip for RAAF units.
5 Feb 1941
  • Women’s Australian Auxiliary Air Force (WAAAF) established.
6 Feb 1941
  • Australian forces capture Benghazi along with six senior Italian Generals. Lieutenant General Erwin Rommel is appointed to command the German forces being sent to Africa.
18 Feb 1941
  • Australian 8th Division troops arrives at Singapore—Australia recognised that Singapore was vital to its own defence.
20 Feb 1941
  • The Australian Prime Minister, R.G. Menzies arrives in Britain for talks with Churchill.
22 Feb 1941
  • Athens Conference on British aid to Greece ; 6th Australian Division arrives during March-April
23 Feb 1941
  • Free French forces land in Eritrea.
24 Feb 1941
  • Army HQ call up half of the militia force for 90 days full-time duty and manning of all coastal and anti-aircraft defences. Infantry detachments sent to reinforce Thursday Island, Port Moresby and Rabaul.
26 Feb 1941
  • Depot Ship in Sydney’s Garden Island dockyard, formerly known as HMAS PENGUIN, was re-commissioned as HMAS PLATYPUS, for seagoing service as a training /depot ship.
  • Establishment of first high frequency direction finding (HFDF) station at Garbutt aerodrome.
5 Mar 1941
  • The Royal Navy begins escorting British and Commonwealth troop convoys from Egypt to Greece.
7 Mar 1941
  • British and Commonwealth troops begin to arrive in Greece.
10 Mar 1941
  • Queensland’s Public Works Department began cutting and filling the ground for the first large building of the Rocklea Small Arms Factory. The site later became the Rocklea Munitions Works, taking on larger projects.
    More information about where this took place.
11 Mar 1941
  • Lend-Lease Bill signed by US President Franklin Roosevelt.
22 Mar 1941
  • Militia troops of 49 Battalion reinforced Thursday Island and Port Moresby.
24 Mar 1941
  • Troops of 51 Battalion entered Cairns Showgrounds for 90-day training camp.
25 Mar 1941
  • Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF) established.
29 Mar 1941
  • Battle of Matapan, Greece—HMA ships Perth, Vendetta and Stuart were among 13 Allied ships involved in the battle.
30 Mar 1941
  • Contruction of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Port War Signal Station 1 at Caloundra was commenced. The site of the signal tower was on the front lawn of the Sea Eagle Apartments at 38 Victoria Terrace, Wickham Point.
    More information about where this took place.
1 Apr 1941
  • Work commenced on survey and grading of the Mount Isa-Tennant Creek supply road to Darwin.
  • Lady Bowen Services Hostel, also known as the 12th Australian Defence Canteen Services Hostel was established in Spring Hill, Brisbane.
    More information about where this took place.
  • The Lady Bowen Club, No. 12 Service Club and Australian Army Canteens Service Recreation Centre were opened in Albert Park, Springhill, Brisbane.
    More information about where this took place.
4 Apr 1941
  • German and Italian troops enter Benghazi unopposed.
6 Apr 1941
  • Germany invaded Greece and Yugoslavia.
  • 6th Australian Division arrives in Greece
7 Apr 1941
  • British and Australian troops evacuate Derna; Generals O’Connor and Neame captured by Germans
9 Apr 1941
  • Rommel’s forces take Bardia.
10 Apr 1941
  • The 9th Australian Division withdraws into Tobruk. Siege of Tobruk, Libya, begins.
  • 6th Division engage the Germans in Greece with heavy losses.
11 Apr 1941
  • Rommel makes an attempt to capture Tobruk, however the 9th Australian Division repulses the attack.
12 Apr 1941
  • ANZAC Corps reformed in Greece by General Blamey, and conducted a skillful evacuation of the ANZAC Corps from southern Greece at the end of the campaign.
13 Apr 1941
  • Corporal J.H. Edmondson, VC—Corporal J.H. Edmondson, 2/17th Battalion,AIF, originally from Wagga Wagga, NSW, wins the Victoria Cross at Tobruk. It was a posthumous award.
14 Apr 1941
  • Second attack against Tobruk by Afrika Korps fails—The besieged town of Tobruk held out against German attacks until December 1941 when the siege was lifted.
  • General Morshead appointed commander of Tobruk fortress.
20 Apr 1941
  • ANZAC Corps withdraw to Thermopylae Line, Greece.
25 Apr 1941
  • Australian and New Zealand units from Greece arrive in Crete
  • Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service (WRANS) established
30 Apr 1941
  • Last evacuation ship leaves Greece, Australian and New Zealand troops.
  • Lark Force 2/22 Battalion reinforced the Rabaul garrison.
1 May 1941
  • Army HQ took over control of the Volunteer Defence Corps (VDC).
3 May 1941
  • Approval given for raising a company of Torres Strait Islander troops.
5 May 1941
  • Military upgrading of Cloncurry aerodrome commenced.
8 May 1941
  • RAAF Area Combined HQ moved from Port Moresby to Townsville (Commonwealth Building, 42 Sturt Street).
20 May 1941
  • Churchill announces the end of Ethiopian campaign.
  • Germans Airborne forces invade Crete.
24 May 1941
  • The Australian Prime Minister, R.G. Menzies arrives back in Australia after his trip to Britain.
  • The 112 General Military Hospital (Brisbane) was established at Greenslopes. It went on to become a Repatriation and veteran’s Hospital
    More information about where this took place.
29 May 1941
  • HMAS Perth damaged during the evacuation of Allied troops from Crete. Over 16,000 troops were successfully evacuated from the island over four successive nights.
1 Jun 1941
  • The evacuation of Crete is completed, with 17,000 British, Commonwealth and Greek troops being rescued, although the Australians lose more than half their contingent.
  • RAAF 24 Squadron (Wirraways) arrived at Garbutt aerodrome, Townsville.
2 Jun 1941
5 Jun 1941
  • Cyprus reinforced by Australian troops—After their heavy losses during the invasion of Crete German plans to launch a similar attack against Cyprus were abandoned.
8 Jun 1941
  • Australians attack Vichy French in Syria—7th Division and Imperial forces attack Vichy French in Syria.
13 Jun 1941
  • No.24 Squadron RAAF took over the Garbutt H/F D/F Station. Its purpose was to assist aircrew in navigating by giving a course to steer to reach the area of the H/F D/F station and consisted of four vertical masts (aerials).
  • HF/DF station Garbutt transferred to RAAF.
22 Jun 1941
  • Operation Barbarossa launched. Germany invades Russia.
26 Jun 1941
  • Federal Department of War Organisation of Industry established.
30 Jun 1941
  • H.M.A.S. Waterhen sunk by dive bomber on Tobruk shuttle service in the Mediterranean.
  • RAAF No.24 Squadron Wirraway aircraft, A20/118 crashed at Townsville, killing both occupants.
1 Jul 1941
  • Proof firing of coast defence guns at Goods and Milman Batteries, Torres Strait.
6 Jul 1941
  • Construction of Coen Advanced Operastional Base completed by Queensland’s Main Roads Commission (MRC).
11 Jul 1941
  • Vichy French surrender in Syria, after a five-week long Syrian campaign represented the first occasion that the Australian 7th Division was committed to action.
12 Jul 1941
  • Main Roads Commission (MRC) upgraded and sealed Cairns airfield.
24 Jul 1941
  • Japanese troops landed in French Indo-China (Vietnam).
25 Jul 1941
  • United States, UK and Dominions freeze all Japanese assets.
28 Jul 1941
  • Japan freezes all US and UK assets in retaliation.
  • 40,000 Japanese troops land in Indo-China.
31 Jul 1941
  • The first Australians were trained as instructors for the Special Forces (guerrilla warfare) school at Wilson’s Promontory in Victoria.
1 Aug 1941
  • RAAF 20 Squadron formed at Port Moresby, New Guinea, utilising Catalina and Empire flying boats.
5 Aug 1941
  • Lieut-General Sir Iven Mackay appointed General Officer in Charge—Home Forces.
13 Aug 1941
  • Australian Women’s Army Service formed to release men from certain military duties for service with fighting units.
17 Aug 1941
  • The Federal Government approved the formation of Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS).
19 Aug 1941
  • Relief of Australian troops in Tobruk begins
28 Aug 1941
  • Menzies resigns as Prime Minister of Australia and is replaced McFadden. Under pressure from his political opposition he demands the relief of the 9th Australian Division from Tobruk in Libya.
13 Sep 1941
  • First Naval Member Vice Admiral Sir Guy C.C. Roy/e KCB, CMG, made a very brief inspection of A.C.H., Townsville, when on route to Rabaul by air.
1 Oct 1941
  • Australian Women’s Army service (AWAS) established.
  • Horn Island airfield second runway completed as a gravel strip.
3 Oct 1941
  • Federal Budget defeated with the support of Independent members. Labor leader John Curtin appointed as prime minister-elect.
15 Oct 1941
  • US Army selected Garbutt aerodrome, Townsville, as a base for supply of the US garrison in the Philippines.
17 Oct 1941
  • General Hideki Tojo became Japan’s prime minister and war minister.
19 Oct 1941
  • Moscow under siege by German forces.
30 Oct 1941
  • RAAF selected Woodstock area near Townsville as a suitable site for an airfield.
1 Nov 1941
3 Nov 1941
  • RAAF selected Antil Plains area near Townsville as a suitable site for an airfield.
  • Work began on upgrading Cooktown civil aerodrome for completion by end of December.
  • Urgent upgrading and sealing of Garbutt aerodrome commenced with Main Roads Commission (MRC) teams working around the clock.
11 Nov 1941
  • Opening of the Australian War Memorial, Canberra
17 Nov 1941
  • Chiang Kai-shek urges the western democracies to take urgent action against Japan.
19 Nov 1941
  • The cruiser HMAS Sydney and German raider Kormoran sink each other off Western Australia. There are no survivors from HMAS Sydney.
24 Nov 1941
  • US Army commanders across the Pacific are warned of the possible imminence of war.
27 Nov 1941
  • Japan rejects the USA’s demand for their withdrawal of forces from China.
  • H.M.A.S. Parramatta torpedoed by a submarine off Tobruk.
30 Nov 1941
1 Dec 1941
6 Dec 1941
  • German assault on Moscow defeated. Soviet counter-offensive launched.
  • The Australian 49th Battalion, a Militia unit from Queensland, and elements of the 13th Field Regiment, and base troops arrive in Port Moresby.
7 Dec 1941
  • Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; also attack the Philippines, Wake Island, Guam, Malaya, Thailand, Shanghai and Midway.
8 Dec 1941
  • US President Roosevelt states that December 7 is “a date that will live in infamy”. Roosevelt signs the declaration of war on Japan.
  • Japanese aircraft bomb Singapore, resulting in 200 casualties, mostly civilians.
  • Britain, Australia and the USA declare war on Japan.
  • CMF Units were placed on full time duty. 51st Infantry Battalion, whose role was the defence of the Cairns Area. the coastal strip north to Port Douglas and south to Gordonvale, moved into Sellheim camp for training.
  • All Japanese residents and nationals on Thursday Island detained behind barbed wire in the Japanese quarter.
9 Dec 1941
  • Japanese also continue to land troops in southern Thailand and north eastern Malaya. China declares war on Germany and Italy.
  • First Japanese aircraft sighted over Rabaul, New Britain.
10 Dec 1941
  • British Battleships Prince of Wales and Repulse are attacked and sunk of the north eastern coast of Malaya by Japanese aircraft.
  • Japanese invade the Philippines.
11 Dec 1941
  • Japanese invade Burma.
  • The corvette HMAS GOULBURN captured the Japanese fish carrier, KOFUKU MARU off Singapore. The vessel was taken to Colombo and later renamed KRAIT.
12 Dec 1941
  • Australian Army “Sparrow Force” (2/40 Battalion. 23 Brigade, 8th division) arrive in Timor on the Australian former coastal steamer, ZEALANDIA, escorted from Darwin by HMAS WESTRALIA.
  • First experimental air warning (AW) radar set installed at Dover Heights, Sydney.
15 Dec 1941
  • US confirmed that Australia would be developed as base to support American forces in the Philippines.
  • ‘A’ Company, 16th Battalion VDC (Volunteer Defence Corps) Townsville, warned for duty at RAAF Station, Garbutt. HQ D Group VDC was located in the AMP Building in Townsville.
16 Dec 1941
  • Japanese troops land on Penang Island off the eastern coast of of Malaya.
  • Japanese forces land in Sarawak and Brunei in Borneo.
17 Dec 1941
  • The Australian Army “Gull Force” (2/21st Battalion) arrives in Ambon from Darwin. Transported on Dutch merchant ships Both, Valentijn and Patras, and escorted by HMAS Adelaide.
18 Dec 1941
  • Japanese troops force landings on Hong Kong island.
  • Australian and Dutch forces occupied Portuguese Timor.
22 Dec 1941
23 Dec 1941
  • General Douglas MacArthur begins a withdrawal from Manila to Bataan.
  • Queensland’s Premier William Forgan Smith, ordered the Brisbane City Council to construct 200 public surface shelters in the city area.
  • Preparation for the Toowoomba Railway Station Air Raid Shelters was announced.
    More information about where this took place.
  • US headquarters was established at Lennon’s Hotel, with Colonel Alexander L.P. Johnson appointed supply officer.
    More information about where this took place.
24 Dec 1941
  • Camp Ascot (US Army), Eagle Farm Racecourse—the first US Army camp established in Australia. It was located in the Ascot Racecourse due to its close location to the major Brett’s Wharf at Hamilton.
    More information about where this took place.
25 Dec 1941
  • Hong Kong surrenders after a 7 day siege, with more than 2,000 killed or missing and 2,300 wounded.
26 Dec 1941
  • Australian civilians evacuated from Rabaul to Townsville.
27 Dec 1941
  • The Australian Prime Minister, Curtin, announces, “Australia looks to America”.
28 Dec 1941
  • Lieutenant General George Brett arrived in Australia to take command of all US forces in the region.
  • 39th Battalion, raised from volunteers and drafts from formations located in Victoria, embarked from Sydney, bound for Papua. They are accompanied by some 53rd Battalion, raised in NSW.
31 Dec 1941
  • War Cabinet approved the formation of the VAOC (Voluntary Air Observers’ Corps).
  • The AIF Composite Company developed a number of machine gun positions north and south of Fort Bribie, plus two mortar positions and two timber pillboxes south of Fort Bribie.
    More information about where this took place.
  • All Japanese on Thursday Island were shipped south to interment camps.

1942

1 Jan 1942
  • 0220 hrs, Clocks are advanced one hour to conform to Summer time.
  • LGEN George H. Brett. Chief of US Air Corps (USAC), in Australia to command the American Troops. His command was designated United States Army Forces in Australia.
  • A Chemical Warfare Centre Impregnation Facility is established at Crosby Park. The centre is now known as Allan Border Field.
    More information about where this took place.
  • RAN Port War Signal Station commenced operation at Archer Point near Cooktown. Other naval signal stations were established at Goods, Booby and Wednesday Islands in the Torres Strait.
    More information about where this took place.
2 Jan 1942
  • Japanese take Manila, as MacArthur’s forces retire to Bataan Peninsular.
3 Jan 1942
  • Churchill and Roosevelt announce the unified ABDA (American, British, Dutch and Australian) Command in the Southwest Pacific, under General Wavell, with Lieutenant General Brett as his deputy.
  • Port Moresby garrison boosted to Brigade strength, with two Militia battalions—the 39th and 53rd.
4 Jan 1942
  • Rabaul, in New Britain, bombed by Japanese for the first time.
  • Two new RAAF Hudson Bombers (#A16-102 and 106) fitted with extra fuel tanks and two 20 inch cameras, took off from Townsville for Rabaul to perform photographic reconnaissance of Truk Lagoon.
5 Jan 1942
  • The Cooktown airstrip officially handed over to RAAF. The strip was built by the road construction firm, T & K Constructions, under tender, for the Department of Interior.
  • Camp Victoria Park is developed as the US Base Section 3 and US Army Service of Supply (USASOS) Headquarters.
    More information about where this took place.
  • US group headed by Brigadier Clagett arrived in Townsville to arrange construction of airfields and establish US Base Section 2 of the US Army Services of Supply organisation (USASOS).
6 Jan 1942
7 Jan 1942
  • Ambon Island attacked by Japanese aircraft.
8 Jan 1942
  • 19th Field Ambulance moved into Sellheim camp outside Charters Towers, to an allotted campsite between 26th Battalion and 11th Field Coy, RAE.
9 Jan 1942
  • Construction began on Project No. 2 Job 25, US Air Commend operations and signals building (3 Ramsay Street) Garbutt, Townsville.
  • US Base Section 2 Engineers commenced operations from AML&F Building (Denham and Walker Street) Townsville. This became US Army HQ.
10 Jan 1942
  • A road convoy of roadmaking machinery and plant belonging to construction firm, T & K Constructions, left Yungaburra, via Mt. Garnet, for Cloncurry to continue the construction of an airfield.
    More information about where this took place.
11 Jan 1942
  • Dutch East Indies (now Indonesian) troops, surrender to Japanese on Tarakan Island off Borneo
14 Jan 1942
  • At the Arcadia Conference held in Washington, President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Churchill agree to concentrate the Allied war effort on the European theatre.
  • General Wavell arrives at Batavia in Java to setup ABDA headquarters.
  • Australians (27th Brigade. 8th Division) in battle at Gemas, Malaya Peninsular. The first contact between Australian and Japanese ground troops.
19 Jan 1942
  • Churchill indicates that Singapore must be defended and that “no question of surrender be entertained until after protracted fighting among the ruins of Singapore city”.
  • Australian and NEI governments reach agreement on the evacuation of Dutch civilians from Java with Australia only accepting white evacuees.
20 Jan 1942
  • Wirraways engage Japanese fighter and bomber formations over Rabaul. Three of 24 Squadron’s eight Wirraways were shot down, one crashed on take-off and two were damaged in crash-landings.
21 Jan 1942
  • The Japanese bomb New Guinea for the first time.
22 Jan 1942
  • Lieutenant Colonel Charles Anderson, 2/19 Battalion, 8th Division, won the Victoria Cross during operations against the Japanese at the Muar River, Malaya.
23 Jan 1942
  • Japanese troops make landings at Rabaul on New Britain and at Kavieng on New Ireland, and Bougainville Island in the Solomons. Australia appeals to Britain and the US for immediate reinforcements.
  • Cairns City Council urges internment of all enemy aliens and evacuation of women who wished to leave.
24 Jan 1942
  • Japanese captured Balikpapan oil installations.
  • American British Dutch Australian (ABDA) Command Area extended to include Darwin and Broome in north-west Australia.
27 Jan 1942
  • 116th Australian General Hospital established at Charters Towers racecourse.
28 Jan 1942
  • S.S. DESIKOKO (230 ton), arrived in Cairns from Samarai, off the tip of Papua, disembarking evacuees.
29 Jan 1942
  • Manpower Directorate established.
30 Jan 1942
  • The British withdraw into Singapore. The siege of Singapore then begins.
  • Japanese forces capture the important naval base of Ambon between Celebes and New Guinea.
31 Jan 1942
  • Women and children evacuated from Thursday Island.
1 Feb 1942
  • Royal Australian Engineers mined the Gillies Highway for demolition in event of invasion.
  • Construction started on 16 HAA Battery gun stations at Mount St John and Rowes Bay, Townsville.
  • Branch of the Australian Army Hiring Service established at Townsville to compensate for requisition of private property.
3 Feb 1942
  • First Japanese air raid on Port Moresby.
  • Australian 2/21 Battalion surrenders on Ambon, along with Dutch and Indonesian Forces.
  • The first 40 patients accompanied by staff arrived at Greenslopes Military Hospital. The staff came from the forward elements of the Australian 112th Army General Hospital (AGH) unit then based at ‘Yungaba’, Kangaroo Point.
    More information about where this took place.
4 Feb 1942
  • Lieutenant General Iven Mackay, GOC Home Forces, recommended concentrating Australia’s forces between Melbourne and Brisbane, giving rise to the “Brisbane Line” controversy.
5 Feb 1942
  • Thirty one US P40 Kittyhawk aircraft are recorded as having landed at Cloncurry airfield.
  • RAAF No.24 Squadron reformed at Townsville, with strength of ten Wirraways.
9 Feb 1942
10 Feb 1942
  • Commonwealth Government ordered a full-black-out test on Wednesday 11 February 1942, along the whole Australian seaboard.
13 Feb 1942
  • The first train load of bombs arrived at Cloncurry, from Townsville.
14 Feb 1942
  • SS Vyner Brooke sunk, carrying 65 Australian nurses and other refugees from Singapore. One group of surviving nurses were massacred by their Japanese captors, and only Sister Vivian Bullwinkel survived the massacre.
  • Australian civil government in Papua taken over by the Military.
  • US ordered construction of an airfield at Charters Towers as a dispersal strip for Garbutt setting a deadline of 14 days to complete.
15 Feb 1942
  • Singapore surrenders to the Japanese. 9,000 British, Australian and Empire troops are killed and 130,000 captured, including 15,000 Australians, mainly 8th Division.
  • HMAS WOLLONGONG was the last RAN ship to have left Singapore before capitulation.
  • Main Roads Council began construction of Charters Towers airfield.
  • 31st Battalion arrived at Sellheim, in convoy, from Cairns.
16 Feb 1942
  • RAAF No.33 Squadron formed at Townsville, with four S23 ‘Short’ Empire Flying Boats, impressed from Qantas and Imperial Airways. The main role was Search & Rescue, and later Transport and Medivac.
17 Feb 1942
  • Prime Minister Curtin asked Britain for return of AIF troops from the Middle East for defence of Australia.
  • Federal government created Allied Works Council (AWC) to organise defence and infrastructure works in Australia.
  • 19th Field Clearance Station moved from Parramatta Park School in Cairns to Wright’s Creek School near Yatee siding, outside Edmonton.
19 Feb 1942
  • First Japanese air raid on Darwin—The city was bombed 64 times between February 1942 and November 1943.
  • Units of 7th Division, (2/3rd MG Bn, 2/2nd Pioneer Bn., 2/6th Field Company and 2/2nd CCS) land in Java and become part of Blackforce.
  • Darwin heavily bombed in two raids by Japanese carrier-borne and land-based aircraft to isolate the NEI: first of 64 air raids on the Darwin-Katherine region.
  • Arrival in Townsville of twelve B-17 Flying Fortresses of the 22nd Bombardment Squadron, that were specifically allocated for service in the South-West Pacific.
  • Main Roads Commission (MRC) started construction of the Inland Defence Road from Ipswich to Charters Towers via Duaringa and Emerald.
  • First nine USAAF B-175 of 22 BS arrived at Townsville.
21 Feb 1942
  • First USAAF B-17S landed at Cloncurry.
  • Nine B-17, and five DC3 aircraft are recorded as having landed at Cloncurry airfield.
22 Feb 1942
  • First US heavy bombing mission out of Australia staged from Garbutt to attack Rabaul.
23 Feb 1942
  • Main Australian force on Timor—“Sparrow” Force (2/40th Battalion)—surrenders to the Japanese—Australians of 2/2 Independent Company who evaded capture waged a guerilla war against the Japanese.
  • Against the wishes of Winston Churchill, the Australian Prime Minister, Curtin orders all Australian Divisions to return home.
24 Feb 1942
  • Evacuation of American British Dutch Australian (ABDA) Command troops from Java began with Qantas, KLM, RAAF and USAAF aircraft flying to Darwin and Broome.
25 Feb 1942
  • RAAF No.3 Fighter Sector HQ formed at Townsville Grammar School, and later moved to a Reinforced Concrete building (No.3 FS) built just south of Townsville, at Stuart.
26 Feb 1942
  • Formation of the Allied Works Council (AWC). Queensland Main Roads Commission and United States Army Engineer and construction units offer complete cooperation in this endeavour.
28 Feb 1942
  • Japanese land on Java (Netherlands East Indies)
1 Mar 1942
  • USS Houston and light cruiser HMAS Perth, along with 1 British, 1 Dutch and 2 US destroyers, fleeing from the Battle of Java Sea, surprise a Japanese force near the Sundra Strait, and are sunk by torpedoes and gunfire.
  • Chelmer, Brisbane—‘Glenroma’ Homestead converted and utilised as a Australian Red Cross Convalescent Home.
    More information about where this took place.
  • RAAF 36 Radar Station formed on Thursday Island.
    More information about where this took place.
  • RAAF 1 Wireless Station at Townsville, monitor Japanese Kana code signals.
2 Mar 1942
  • Port Moresby bombed by Japanese.
3 Mar 1942
4 Mar 1942
  • RAAF No.75 Squadron (Kittyhawks) formed in Townsville.
8 Mar 1942
  • A-24 Dauntless and A-20 Boston aircraft of USAAF 3 BG, arrived at Charters Towers airfield which is operational by late March.
  • US 46 Engineer GSR ordered from Melbourne to Townsville for airfield construction.
9 Mar 1942
  • 7th Division AIF arrives in Adelaide. Elements of the Division had been sent to Java where they soon became prisoners of the Japanese.
  • HAA gun station at Rowes Bay, Townsville became operational.
12 Mar 1942
  • An intensified “brown-out”—a partial blackout—was enforced in Queensland, from Mackay, north, and districts 100 miles inland.
14 Mar 1942
15 Mar 1942
  • US 46 Engineer GSR arrived in Townsville for airfield construction and occupied a tent encampment at Armstrongs Paddock, Aitkenvale.
  • The first of large bodies of United States Army personnel, 46th Engineers, arrived in Townsville, and these men were quartered in a vacant block of land, known as Armstrong’s Paddock, one of the largest staging camps in the area.
17 Mar 1942
  • General Douglas MacArthur lands at Batchelor Field, Adelaide River, south of Darwin, from the Philippines to take command of Allied forces in South West Pacific.
  • 116 Australian General Hospital moved into Mount Carmel College, Charters Towers.
18 Mar 1942
  • Japanese air raid on Horn Island. Merchant ship SS Canberra strafed.
  • US 12 Station Hospital moved to Townsville from Brisbane.
  • US 46th Engineers, plus men and equipment of the Queensland Main Roads Commission, commenced construction of airstrip at Woodstock, 20 miles southwest of Townsville.
21 Mar 1942
  • Charters Towers gravel airfield first used for dispersal by B-17s from Townsville.
22 Mar 1942
  • Japanese bombers raid Katherine, NT and Port Hedland, Western Australia
  • The first of fifty one USAAF 8-26 Martin Marauder aircraft of the 22nd Light Bombardment Group arrived in Brisbane, en-route to Townsville.
  • Two fighter strips cleared as gravel runways at Antil Plains siding near Townsville for immediate use.
  • Japanese air raids caused the evacuation of all non-essential civilians from Thursday Island.
  • Unidentified planes were reported over Townsville for two consecutive days. Single planes flew high over the city about mid-day on both days.
23 Mar 1942
25 Mar 1942
  • Bohle River airstrip cleared as a gravel dispersal strip near Townsville.
  • US 12 Station Hospital took over all houses in Chapman Street, Townsville.
  • A whole street of private dwellings in Chapman Street, Mysterton Estate, Townsville were taken over by the US Army for the location of the 12th Station Hospital.
26 Mar 1942
  • Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Blarney becomes Commander-in-Chief, Australian Military Forces.
28 Mar 1942
  • Weir Airstrip (Aitkenvale) cleared as a gravel dispersal strip, near Townsville.
  • B-26 Marauders of USAAF 19 BS, 22 BG(M) arrived at Stockroute Airstrip.
  • 51st Battalion moved out from Sellheim in convoy for Townsville.
29 Mar 1942
  • The Australian War Cabinet implements a ‘Total Denial’ policy in northern Australia should the Japanese invade.
  • USAAF 93rd Squadron began arriving in Cloncurry. The Americans, who occupied the entire eight hotels in town, described Cloncurry as “…a hot dry place of a million flies per cubic foot of air…”.
  • US 46 Engineer GSR shifted from the Woodstock airfields to commence construction of three gravel strips at Reid River between Townsville and Charters Towers.
  • 19th Field Ambulance move out from Seliheim, in convoy, with 26th Battalion, for Reid River.
30 Mar 1942
1 Apr 1942
  • Balfes Creek RAAF Landing Ground, An aerodrome site west of Charters Towers, was requisitioned by the RAAF. It remained unsealed.
    More information about where this took place.
  • Australian 1 Field Survey Corps began mapping the north Queensland coast and Cape York Peninsula.
  • 36 Radar Station installed experimental AW radar at Hammond Island; first RAAF radar station in north Queensland.
  • Drawings completed for Project No.W142, RAAF No.1 Wireless Station, Stuart, Townsville.
  • Department of Interior, Works and Service Branch, Townsville, completed drawings for Project No.81, the RAAF NEA Command communications centre, Green Street, Townsville.
  • USAAF 8 Fighter Group squadrons equipped with P-39 Aircobras commenced operations from Townsville and Woodstock strips.
3 Apr 1942
  • General MacArthur appointed Supreme Commander, South West Pacific Area (S.W.P.A.).
5 Apr 1942
  • 19th Field Ambulance Casualty Clearance Station site at Reid River became a Camp Hospital, with erection of ‘Ward’ marquees.
6 Apr 1942
  • Work on clearing and levelling the runways at Fanning RAAF Landing Ground, Macrossan, was commenced by the Main Roads Commission.
    More information about where this took place.
  • 70 patients and Six AANS Sisters arrived at the new Reid River Camp Hospital.
9 Apr 1942
  • Weir Airstrip, Townsville occupied by P-40 Kittyhawk fighters of RAAF 76 Squadron.
  • 19th Field Ambulance moved from Reid River to Roseneath.
10 Apr 1942
  • Construction of Breddan airfield commenced as dispersal strip for Charters Towers.
  • US medical units arrived in Townsville. 33rd Surgical Regiment (500 bed unit) and ‘A’ & ‘B’ Companies of 135th Medical Regiment, staged at Armstrong Paddock.
15 Apr 1942
17 Apr 1942
  • US 91 Engineer GSR commenced construction of Giru Airfield extending an existing pre-war gravel strip.
18 Apr 1942
  • General Thomas Blamey appointed to command Allied land forces in the South-West Pacific Area
  • RAAF 104 Radar Station established on Castle Hill, Townsville.
  • WAAAF personnel were billeted at St. Annes Girl’s School, on the corner of Walker and Stokes Streets, Townsville. The present site of the City Council chambers.
20 Apr 1942
  • 2/3rd Australian Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment arrived in Townsville by train from Adelaide and being unexpected, were ‘dumped’ at a timbered paddock in the Garbutt area.
21 Apr 1942
  • All four runway extensions at Cloncurry had been gravelled and the temporary US camp at the airfield housed 3000 personnel of the USAAF 93rd Bombardment Squadron. The Airfield and QANTAS hangar are now part of the Cloncurry Airport.
    More information about where this took place.
22 Apr 1942
  • B-26 Marauders of US 408 Bomber Squadron staged strikes against Lae and Rabaul from Reid River.
  • AMF Command No.1 L of C sub-Area, formed in Townsville, an administrative control formerly exercised by the Area Commandant, North Queensland.
  • The Supply section of US Base 2 Engineers commenced operations in Townsville in two small shops, 380 and 381 Flinders Street west.
23 Apr 1942
  • Company ‘B’ US 135th Medical Regiment set up a Convalescent Hospital at Armstrong Paddock.
  • US 91st Engineers GSR, an African-American unit, moved to Giru to commence construction of a new aerodrome. Without heavy equipment, work commenced with hand tools, including the use of a carpenters level.
  • US Army Section Base Two Signal Section set up in an office building, ‘Beak House’, No. 336 Flinders St. Townsville. The Base Chemical Officer was set up in the same building a fortnight later.
24 Apr 1942
  • RAAF No.27 Operational Base Unit established at Cooktown.
25 Apr 1942
  • Augustus Downs RAAF Landing Ground and Camp Site proposed. The site was abandoned by Augsut 1943.
    More information about where this took place.
  • RAAF No.32 Squadron (Hudson Bombers) commenced operations at Horn Island)
  • Company ‘C’ US 135th Medical Regiment set up a Convalescent Hospital at Major’s Creek, 14 mile east of Woodstock.
  • The “Central Bureau’s” extended its secretive signals intelligence unit at Pimlico in Townsville, with the requisitioning of three more houses; No’s 25 & 26 French St. and No.3 Sycamore.
  • Japanese kana code intercept revealed plans for raid by carrier based aircraft against targets on east coast (Townsville).
30 Apr 1942
  • The A.W.C. (Allied Works Council) authorized Queensland Main Roads Commission to source all types of mechanical equipment for the purposes of building roads, airstrips and defence works.
  • Construction of the new two storey gun emplacements, two storey searchlight emplacements, BOP, CP and Plotting Room at Fort Bribie was completed. Later that year two American 155mm guns were stationed at Skirmish Point, south Bribie Island.
    More information about where this took place.
  • The first US B-17 bombers began arriving at Charleville Airfield.
    More information about where this took place.
  • The Underground Hospital in Mount Isa had been constructed. The underground hospital occupied an area roughly 20 square metres in the southeast corner of the Mount Isa Base Hospital grounds.
    More information about where this took place.
  • 3 Advanced Ordnance Depot and 6 Advanced Workshop AEME, No 1 Sub Depot Group II were planned to be located at Harristown, south-west of the city centre.
    More information about where this took place.
  • Australian 5th Division troops assumed defence of Townsville from 11 Brigade militia.
1 May 1942
  • Gravel airstrips cleared on Augustus Downs cattle station, Gulf country.
  • The Gailes Airstrip or Wacol, A-9 Airstrip and RAAF Emergency Landing Ground was constructed in the Brisbane suburb of Carole Park. By April 1944, a US report renders the site unmaintainable and it is discarded.
    More information about where this took place.
  • Gravel airstrips cleared on Carpentaria Downs cattle station, Gulf country.
  • Drawings completed for US Command Post under Castle Hill Road, Townsville.
  • USAAF Airfield, Camp Eagle Farm and RAAF Relief Landing Ground established.
    More information about where this took place.
  • Townsville HAA batteries opened fire on Japanese reconnaissance aircraft.
  • Gravel airstrips cleared on Wrotham Park cattle station, Gulf country.
3 May 1942
  • RAAF Catalina Squadrons No’s 11 & 20 moved their base from Port Moresby to Bowen NQ, with operations to be mounted out of Cairns, closer to the war zone. HQ in Bowen was upstairs in a building near the “Blue Bell” Milk Bar in the main street.
4 May 1942
  • The 101st Australian Anti-Tank Regiment arrived at Partington Siding, ten miles south of Townsville, after a train, journey from Brisbane.
  • No.2 US Air Command was established at Townsville and headquarters was the Operations and Signals Building at Garbutt, recently constructed by the Townsville Harbour Board, for the Department of Interior.
  • The first strip of Cecil Plains Airfield, at Tipton on the Darling Downs is completed.
    More information about where this took place.
  • A reinforced concrete building, (Building No.81), was constructed for the Department of Interior, at Green Street, West End, in Townsville, for use as RAAF Operations and Signals.
5 May 1942
6 May 1942
  • B-17s from Australia spot the Port Moresby Invasion Fleet south of Bougainville. They attack the Japanese Carrier Shoho but miss.
7 May 1942
  • Japan suffers its first defeat of the war during the Battle of the Coral Sea. The first time in history that two opposing carrier forces fought only using aircraft without the opposing ships ever sighting each other.
8 May 1942
  • US 84 Station Hospital took over St Gabriel’s school, Charters Towers.
  • USAFIA established 84th Station Hospital at St. Gabriel’s College, situated at what is now No.29 Gordon Street, Charters Towers.
  • Regimental HQ, and No.1 Battery of the 101st Anti-Tank Regiment encamped at Cluden Racecourse, south of Townsville.
10 May 1942
  • 9th Battalion, 61st Battalion and 25th Battalion, 7th Infantry Brigade arrived in Townsville, camping temporarily, at Antill Plains, before moving to Rollingstone area.
  • Two RAAF Hudson crews operating to seaward of Townsville, each reported to have attacked a submarine.
11 May 1942
  • Japanese air raid on Horn Island. A Wirraway aircraft is damaged and huts destroyed.
  • Work began on the Stuart Ordnance Project, later known as Koala Ordnance Depot.
    More information about where this took place.
  • The 127th Australian Army Transport Unit established in Townsville, being billeted at Queen’s Park. This unit was formerly the North Queensland 115th Reserve Transport Company.
12 May 1942
  • Main Roads Commission commenced construction of Mareeba airfield.
13 May 1942
  • Macrossan airfield under construction as a fighter strip between Townsville and Charters Towers.
14 May 1942
  • US 46th Engineer Regiment with an attached Queensland Main Roads Commission force, commenced construction of an Advanced Operational Base at Iron Range.
  • US Army Base Two Intelligence Section commenced functioning in Townsville, located in the A.M.P. Building on the corner of Flinders and Stokes Streets.
15 May 1942
  • RAAF 12 Repair and Salvage Unit established at Breddan, near Charters Towers.
  • RAAF No.28 Operational Base Unit established at Horn Island.
  • No.4 Battery, 101st Anti-Tank Regiment, only recently arrived in Townsville, moved to Rollingstone, north of the town.
16 May 1942
  • 19th Field Ambulance moved out from Roseneath, to Calcium, west of Townsville.
18 May 1942
  • Cape Bedford Lutheran Mission at Eight Mile, via Cooktown was evacuated under Military order and occupied by RAAF, US Army 94th Coastal Battery, detachment of AMF, and employees of AWC.
  • USAAF 19th Bomb Group moved from Garbutt to Longreach, with intentions to move to Mareeba on completion and sealing of the Bomber strip.
20 May 1942
  • Mareeba airfield first gravel strip used by RAAF aircraft.
  • North Australia Observer Unit (NAOU) formed. Known as Australia’s Secret Bush Commandos, or ‘Nackeroos’, this unit patrolled the vast north.
22 May 1942
  • RAAF No.100 Squadron (Beaufort Bombers) moved from Richmond to Mareeba, where construction of a strip had commenced only ten days earlier.
25 May 1942
  • RAAF No.25 Operational Base Unit established in Cairns.
30 May 1942
  • Ground survey of Iron Range undertaken for suitable airfield sites.
  • The four Batteries of the 101st Anti-Tank Regiment, conducted range practice at Many Peaks Range. This was the first anti-tank practice in Townsville.
31 May 1942
  • Japanese midget submarines raid Sydney Harbour—21 sailors were killed when the depot ship HMAS Kuttabul was torpedoed.
1 Jun 1942
  • No 9 Inland Fuel Depot, consisting of four concrete reinforced 1,000,000 gallon capacity fuel storage tanks, and three smaller tanks, went into operation at Charters Towers.
  • Construction of Cooktown Mission Strip began, using Allied Works Council labour.
  • Camp Tasman, the US 172nd Station Hospital and WAAAF Training Depot.
    More information about where this took place.
  • ‘Tighnabruaich’ and Witton Barracks established at Indooroopilly, Brisbane to facilitate POW interrogation and translation.
    More information about where this took place.
  • US 46 Engineer GSR and Main Roads Commission commenced Iron Range airfield.
  • RAAF 108 HFDF Station at Julia Creek became operational.
  • It was decided to make Mareeba the main operational airfield in far north Queensland.
  • Camp Thompson’s Point—Rockhampton was home to US Army which trained in Queensland During World War II.
    More information about where this took place.
4 Jun 1942
  • A decisive victory for the U.S. against Japan in the Battle of Midway. Four Japanese carriers, a cruiser, and damage to another cruiser and two destroyers occurs, to the loss of the carrier USS Yorktown.
  • First flight from Mareeba airstrip was a calibration flight to Townsville by RAAF Beaufort A9-42.
6 Jun 1942
  • RAAF No.24 Squadron moved from Aitkenvale strip to Ross River strip.
7 Jun 1942
  • Two RAAF No.24 Squadron Wirraway aircraft, A20-490 and A20-493, operating from Aitkenvale strip, collided in mid air over Woodstock.
  • RAAF No.26 Operational Base Unit formed at Iron Range, primarily to maintain wireless communications for the US 46th Engineers.
8 Jun 1942
  • Sydney and Newcastle shelled—A week after they launched the midget submarines that attacked Sydney Harbour, four large Japanese submarines shell Sydney and Newcastle, but to little effect.
  • AWA Coastal Radio Service in South Townsville, under control of the Royal Australian Navy, set up a High Frequency Service with ships at sea.
9 Jun 1942
  • B-26 Marauders of 19 and 33 Bombardment Squadron, 22 Bombardment Group departed Woodstock airfield for raid on Lae with US congressman Lyndon B Johnson as an observer.
10 Jun 1942
12 Jun 1942
  • Camp Cable, located at Logan Village, south of Brisbane was built as a training base for the US 32nd "Red Arrow" Infantry Division, which was sent to Australia in return for the Australian 9th Division remaining in the Middle East.
    More information about where this took place.
14 Jun 1942
  • US 13 Station Hospital established at Aitkenvale, Townsville.
15 Jun 1942
19 Jun 1942
  • USAAF 94th Coastal Artillery Anti-Aircraft (A/A) batteries were located at Mareeba Aerodrome.
21 Jun 1942
  • Tobruk falls to the Germans, who capture 32,000 prisoners, 2,000 tons of fuel, 5,000 tons of food and 2,000 vehicles.
22 Jun 1942
  • RAAF No.29 Operational Base Unit established at Cloncurry.
24 Jun 1942
  • US Quartermaster was activated in Cairns, known as Sub Port Base Two.
25 Jun 1942
  • RAAF No.24 Operational Base Unit formed at Mareeba.
26 Jun 1942
  • RAAF requisitioned construction of a flying boat base at Bowen.
29 Jun 1942
  • Australian Army Malaria Research Unit took over five houses belonging to Walter Edward ‘Ted’ Tanner, in Sheridan St. Cairns, on the site of what is now, the BP Service Station.
  • Survey of Cape York (Red Island Point) carried out to located a suitable dispersal airfield for Horn Island.
30 Jun 1942
  • By the middle of 1942, airfields in northern Queensland were urgently needed to facilitate the forward movement of Allied Air Forces from Australia to New Guinea.
  • The US 33rd Surgical Hospital and 17th Station Hospital, which utilised the Cloncurry Shire Hall, arrived in the area.
    More information about where this took place.
  • A Combined (Operations) Training Centre was established at Toorbul Point, near Bribie Island, to house the 7th Amphibious Training Centre and 1st Water Transport Training Centre.
    More information about where this took place.
  • Camp Tabragalba, incorporating the 1 Australian A.A. Training Regiment Training Depot and Allied Intelligence Bureau Training Camp—Camp X. is operational.
    More information about where this took place.
1 Jul 1942
  • 9th, 25th and 61st Battalions, 7th Infantry Brigade were camped at Rollingstone, north of Townsville.
  • ‘Nyrambla’, a grand, hillside 1885 Ascot home, was requisitioned by the US Army as the headquarters of Central Intelligence Bureau Headquarters in Australia.
    More information about where this took place.
  • Units of US 46 Engineer GSR began clearing Jacky Jacky airfield near Red Island Point, tip of Cape York. Later named Higgins Field.
  • Establishment of the RAAF 25 Radar Station, Sandy Cape, Fraser Island approved by the Air Board.
    More information about where this took place.
  • US 32nd "Red Arrow" Division (a National Guard unit) arrives at Camp Cable, south of Brisbane.
    More information about where this took place.
  • USAFIA established the 2nd Station Hospital, (tented 250 beds), in the grounds of the Mareeba State School. Buildings used as Special Education Units, were previously the Morgue and Operating Theatre.
  • US Army Shoe, Textile and Equipage Repair shop commenced operation in Townsville.
3 Jul 1942
  • RAAF No.23 Operational Base Unit established at Townsville.
6 Jul 1942
  • Tea rationing introduced in Australia.
  • Heavy Japanese air raid on Horn Island. Four RAAF personnel slightly wounded, runways damaged and huts, stores, ammunition and fuel dumps destroyed.
  • 2/2 Australian General Hospital established at Watten Siding near Hughenden.
    More information about where this took place.
7 Jul 1942
  • Horn Island attacked by sixteen Japanese ‘Nell’ Heavy bomber aircraft, dropping fragmentation bombs, causing extensive damage to the tent lines and buildings.
10 Jul 1942
11 Jul 1942
  • Australian troops arrive in Milne Bay. They were the 7th Militia Brigade group and consisted of the 9th, 25th and 61st Battalions, all Queensland units from Townsville, under the command of Brigadier J. Field.
12 Jul 1942
14 Jul 1942
  • Royal Australian Navy established a Wireless Station at Stanton Hill, Townsville. The Transmitter/Receiver Station with two 150ft Towers was situated at 121 Upper Blackwood Street, Stanton Terrace.
15 Jul 1942
  • Camp Wallaroo and Ordnance Dumps were located near the Duaringa State Forest
    More information about where this took place.
  • The Macrossan Air strip is completed by Queensland Main Roads Commission, for the Allied Works Council, approximately 12 miles from Charters Towers east of the Burdekin River.
  • The Townsville Steam Laundry was taken over by the US Army, complete with machinery, to cater for hospital and shipping needs.
  • Camp Columnbia is vacated by the US forces and taken over by the Dutch. After the war, the site was taken over by the Australian Army and used well into the latter part of the 20th century.
    More information about where this took place.
17 Jul 1942
  • US construction teams prepare the Kingston Airstrip A-11 at Logan Central—Berrinba, south of Brisbane, to be used as an emergency landing ground. It is one of three landing strips in the area.
    More information about where this took place.
20 Jul 1942
  • One Japanese long range Kawanisi ‘Emily’ Flying Boat, jettisoned eight bombs harmlessly in the foothills of Townsville’s ‘Many Peaks Range’, drawing 72 rounds of fire from anti-aircraft guns.
  • Archerfield Airfield developed into a major United States Army Air Force (USAAF) repair and maintenance base, following US General Douglas MacArthur transfer of his headquarters from Melbourne to Brisbane.
    More information about where this took place.
  • US Radio Receiving Station established at Cotton’s Farm, Capalaba, south-east of Brisbane city by the US Army Signal Corps.
    More information about where this took place.
  • The AMP Building, on the corner of Queens and Edward Streets, Brisbane was taken over by the military and became General MacArthur’s Supreme Allied HQ in the South-West Pacific.
    More information about where this took place.
  • General MacArthur, family and 300 staff working at the SWPA headquarters move into the new Lennon’s Hotel, on the corner of Queen and George Streets, Brisbane, and nick-name it ‘Bataan’.
    More information about where this took place.
22 Jul 1942
  • US military cemetery in Townsville was officially opened at Belgian Gardens. The remains of deceased US servicemen, buried at Charters Towers, Mackay, Thursday Island and Marauke are re-buried.
26 Jul 1942
  • The first aircraft landed in the No.1 Giru runway. Construction had been delayed due to torrential rains earlier in the month.
  • Three long-range Japanese flying boats operating from Rabaul dropped six bombs on Townsville outer harbour.
27 Jul 1942
  • Formation of the Australian Women’s Land Army.
28 Jul 1942
  • Townsville raided by a Japanese flying boat. Eight bombs dropped near Many Peaks Range.
29 Jul 1942
  • The 39th Battalion lose Kokoda village and are forced to retreat further, back over the Owen Stanley Range. Their commander, Lieutenant Colonel W.T. Owens, is killed.
  • A single, four engined Japanese long range Kawanisi ‘Emily’ Flying Boat, dropped seven, bombs on Townsville. (six fell into the sea, and one exploded near the Animal Health Station at Oonoomba.
  • Work had commenced on the construction by US troops, of an aerodrome at Iron Range on the east coast of Cape York Peninsular.
30 Jul 1942
31 Jul 1942
1 Aug 1942
  • General MacArthur appointed Major General George Kenney as Commander of Allied Air Forces in the SWPA and the newly-formed US Fifth Air Force.
  • The red centre was removed from RAAF aircraft ‘rondle’ or ‘cockade’ markings, because of American forces in New Guinea, mistakenly identifying the aircraft as Japanese.
  • One Japanese bomber attacked Horn Island, its bombs falling harmlessly into the sea.
  • RAAF No.22 Operational Base Unit was established at Bowen Bowen RAAF Flying Boat Base.
    More information about where this took place.
  • Bowen flying boat base became operational. RAAF 11 and 20 Catalina Squadron and 22 OBU took over the town’s hotels and houses for workshops and accommodation.
    More information about where this took place.
  • Building of the Cairncross Naval Graving Dry Dock at Colmslie on the southern shore of the Brisbane River, is commenced.
    More information about where this took place.
  • Horn Island raided by two Japanese flying boats. Eight bombs dropped into sea.
  • Brisbane City Council lent the Mount Coot-tha Public Researve to the US Navy to establish Camp Cootha, a Mine and Torpedo Depot. The site is now part of the Mount Coot-tha Forest Park.
    More information about where this took place.
  • The US I (1st) Corps Headquarters, under Major General Robert L. Eichelberger, arrived in Rockhampton.
  • PMG linemen and Australian Army Signal Corps stated erecting an overland telephone carrier system from Townsville to Thursday Island.
  • General Blamey established his Advanced Land Headquarters (Adv LHQ) in the only two University of Queensland buildings constructed at its new St Lucia campus.
    More information about where this took place.
3 Aug 1942
  • Queensland Educational Authorities advised that the compulsory school attendance clause of the Education Act is now in operation. All children in Queensland between the ages of 6 and 14 must attend school.
  • US 91 Engineers arrived at Red Island Point to begin work on Jacky Jacky Airfield.
7 Aug 1942
  • US forces land on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.
  • 21st Brigade, 7th. Division (2/14, 2/16, 2/27 Battalions), fresh from victories in Syria, embarked at Brisbane for Port Moresby.
  • USAAF 403rd Bomb Squadron. 38th Bomb Group moved to Breddan from Eagle Farm.
8 Aug 1942
  • Major naval disaster off Savo Island, north of Guadalcanal, as eight Japanese warships wage a night attack and sink three U.S. heavy cruisers, an Australian cruiser HMAS Canberra, and one U.S. destroyer. Over 1,500 Allied crewmen are lost.
  • The Australian Militia force in Milne Bay was reinforced by the A.I.F’s 18th Brigade, 7th. Division, (2/9th, 2/10th 2/12th Battalions), commanded by Brigadier George Wooten.
10 Aug 1942
14 Aug 1942
  • Australian 39th Battalion militia troops involved in fighting withdrawal from Kokoda. They were joined by 2/14th Battalion and later, the 2/16th Battalion.
  • HMAS KATOOMBA landed crew of wrecked US Submarine, S-39, at Townsville.
  • US 13th Station Hospital (250 bed unit) opened near Hatchett Street, Aitkenvale.
15 Aug 1942
  • Ross River airstrip complete.
17 Aug 1942
  • The ground echelon of the 89th Squadron, USAAF 3rd Bomb Group, (A-20s) having moved out from Charters Towers for Port Moresby, sailed from Townsville.
19 Aug 1942
  • RAAF 26 Radar Station established at Cape Cleveland near Townsville.
21 Aug 1942
  • RAAF took over Kurrajong House, Pimlico, Townsville, as a hospital.
  • RAAF No.41 Squadron formed at Townsville, combining with No.33 Squadron, with three Empire lying Boats and four Dornier 24 Flying Boats.
22 Aug 1942
  • 18th Australian Brigade land at Milne Bay, New Guinea. Allied troops in the Milne Bay area now numbered more than 8,800.
  • The 71st and 405th squadrons of the USAF 38 Bombardment Group arrived at Breddan Airfield, east of Charters Towers.
    More information about where this took place.
  • One dispersal strip completed at the RAAF Breddan Repair and Maintenance airfield, about 8 miles west of Charters Towers.
    More information about where this took place.
  • US Services Club is established at Caledonian House in Charters Towers.
23 Aug 1942
  • RAAF No.6 Squadron (Hudsons), moved from Richmond to Horn Island.
26 Aug 1942
  • Japanese landed at Milne Bay in an attempt to capture RAAF airstrips.
  • USAC B-17 aircraft, *41 2621, of the 19th Bombardment Group, crash landed at Mareeba.
31 Aug 1942
  • Sugar rationing introduced in Australia.
  • US Army Anti-Aircraft H 208 CA AA CNG departed, the South Townsville State School, having been camped in the school grounds for five months.
1 Sep 1942
  • Naval Base HMAS MAGNETIC commissioned in Townsville.
  • 90° airstrip at Antill Plains Airfield completed
  • Camp Luna Park and Cloudland Entertainment utilised by the US 837th Signal Service Detachment. Later it would be used as the 1st Australian Chief Engineers (1st CE) Camp.
    More information about where this took place.
  • Cooktown Mission 7700ft bomber airstrip which had been hacked out of the jungle, was brought to all-weather operational standards.
  • RAN shore station HMAS Magnetic commissioned at Townsville.
  • ‘Gordon’ 120° strip at Iron Range complete.
  • RAA officers inspected sites for additional coast defences in Torres Strait. Turtle Head on Hammond Island identified as a battery site.
2 Sep 1942
  • HMAS SWAN and HMAS CASTLEMAINE left Townsville escorting the convoy destined for Milne Bay.
5 Sep 1942
  • RAAF No.4 Airfield Construction Squadron (No.4 Works Maintenance Unit) Detachment commenced operations at Horn Island.
6 Sep 1942
  • Australians force total Japanese evacuation of Milne Bay, with just 1,000 troops surviving to be evacuated.
7 Sep 1942
  • Royal Australian Navy hires Gaiety Theatre in Cairns for Naval Stores, including DEMS Armament Stores.
8 Sep 1942
  • Japanese advance from Kokoda to the Owen Stanley Mountain Range in an overland drive for Port Moresby, New Guinea.
9 Sep 1942
  • USAAF 19 Bombardment Squadron arrived at Iron Range airfield and began operations from gravel-surfaced Gordon strip.
10 Sep 1942
  • Ten USAAF B-26 (Martin Marauder) aircraft of the 19th Bomb Squadron, 22nd Bomb Group arrived at Iron Range from Woodstock.
11 Sep 1942
12 Sep 1942
  • Battle of Bloody Ridge on Guadalcanal.
  • The USN Base 134 Receiving Station is established in New Farm Park, Brisbane. It became one of the major USN accommodation bases in Brisbane.
    More information about where this took place.
15 Sep 1942
  • Repairs to Horn Island airfield completed.
16 Sep 1942
  • Japanese advance in Owen Stanley Ranges stopped at Ioribaiwa, New Guinea.
19 Sep 1942
  • US 2nd Field Hospital arrived in Townsville, and set up at Woodstock, receiving its first patient at the end of the month. Woodstock was also used for training Portable Hospital staffs.
20 Sep 1942
  • 0200 hrs, Daylight Saving came into operation. Clocks advanced one hour.
21 Sep 1942
  • British forces begin their first land counter-offensive against the Japanese in western Burma.
22 Sep 1942
  • RAAF No.100 (Beaufort) Squadron returned to the north from Laverton, operating from the Bohle River strip.
23 Sep 1942
  • General Blamey appointed Commander in Chief of Allied land forces in New Guinea.
24 Sep 1942
  • USASOS establish Sub Section 1 at Cairns, and Sub Section 2 at Horn Island. These points had previous been operating as a sub ports to Base Section 2, which had its main centre in Townsville.
25 Sep 1942
  • Australians begin counter-offensive in the Owen Stanleys
  • HMAS Voyager grounded and destroyed at Betano Bay, Timor. It had brought the 2/4th Independent Company to Timor to reinforce Australian troops already on the island.
  • RAAF installed No.36 RDF (Radio Direction Finding) Station at Hammond Island, near Horn Island off the tip of Cape York Peninsular.
26 Sep 1942
  • The ‘Final’ German offensive begins at Stalingrad.
27 Sep 1942
  • 31st Australian Infantry Battalion (Kennedy Regiment) began the first part of its journey from Townsville, into the land of Kennedy, to take up defence duties at the vital Jacky Jacky airstrip, Cape York Peninsular.
  • RAAF Intercept unit No.1WU in Townsville, moved its operations section from the houses at Pimlico to a newly completed building at Stuart Creek, just outside Townsville.
  • RAAF 1 Wireless Station moved from houses at French and Sycamore Streets, Townsville, to reinforced concrete building at Strut, Project W142.
28 Sep 1942
  • Construction of the Magnetic Island Port War Signal Station (PWSS), in conjunction with two 155mm gun emplacements, magazine and Direction Range Finder station, overlooking Florence Bay, was commenced by the Main Roads Commission.
  • Commander 11th Brigade Group, assumes command of Cairns Area with 26th Battalion at Kuranda, 31st Battalion at Jacky Jacky, and the 51st Battalion at Yatee.
  • Magnetic Island Port War Signal Station and coastal battery constructed.
  • Approval for RAAF Explosive Reserve at Talmoi wool scour, west of Richmond.
30 Sep 1942
  • No.2 Battery, 101st Anti-Tank Regiment moved from Townsville to Cairns, attached to 11 Brigade.
  • USAAF 405th Bomb Squadron, 38th Bomb Group moved from Breddan to Townsville.
1 Oct 1942
  • The US 4th ADC (Air Depot Group) arrived in Townsville from Melbourne, to form Depot #2 of the Service Command of the American Fifth Air Force.
  • RAAF No.75 squadron (P-40 Kittyhawks) commenced operations at Horn Island.
  • USAAF 46th Air Service Group stationed at Mareeba.
  • 26th Militia Battalion, having moved from Alligator Creek, near Townsville, a few weeks earlier to Redlynch, outside Cairns, moved again, to a new site about 8 miles from Kuranda along the Black Mountain Road.
  • Construction commenced on Horn Island gun stations 442 and 443 for 34 Australian HAA Battery.
  • US Kangaroo ammunition depot established at Kurukan, near Townsville.
2 Oct 1942
  • General MacArthur visits Garbutt, stopping over on his first visit Port Moresby.
5 Oct 1942
  • 19th Field Ambulance unit moved to Rocky Creek to prepare a camp area in readiness for 5 Australian Camp Hospital (5 ACH).
6 Oct 1942
  • An explosion occurred at the Australian Forces magazine at Queerah, south of Cairns, when damaged explosives were being discharged under military supervision, injuring several military personnel.
8 Oct 1942
  • RAAF installed No.43 RDF (Radio Direction Finding) Station at Portland Roads, east coast, Cape York Peninsular.
9 Oct 1942
  • RAAF No.6 Squadron moved from Horn Island to Port Moresby.
  • RAAF No.9 Fighter Sector formed at Cairns.
11 Oct 1942
  • US 28th Service Squadron arrived at Iron Range.
12 Oct 1942
  • Many children between the ages 6 & 9 still unable to voluntarily attend school in Townsville and Cairns, due to some school buildings being used for ‘other’ purposes and the acute shortage of teachers.
13 Oct 1942
  • The first U.S. Army troops, the 164th Infantry Regiment, land on Guadalcanal.
14 Oct 1942
  • 5th ACH (Australian Camp Hospital) arrived by train at Rocky Creek, Atherton Tablelands, from Redbank. 19th Field Ambulance assisted with the settling in.
15 Oct 1942
  • 4,500 Japanese troops land as reinforcement for Guadalcanal as battle continues.
  • Fighting at Templeton’s crossing—25th Brigade, 7th Division, drive Japanese attackers back from Templeton’s crossing
  • RAAF HF/DF Station established near Kairi, Atherton Tablelands. The facility consisted of two buildings of 2ft. thick reinforced concrete, which still stand today.
  • RAAF HF/DF station established on a farm between Tolga and Kairi.
  • Mareeba airfield completed, sealed with bitumen.
19 Oct 1942
  • The Strand Hotel on the Esplanade in Cairns and the Yorkeys Knob Hotel at Yorkeys Knob, north of Cairns, were opened by the American Red Cross (AMCROSS), as United Services Organization Clubs.
22 Oct 1942
  • 19th Field Ambulance opened R.A.P. and P.A.C. for use with 5th Division troops at 24 Spence Street, Cairns.
23 Oct 1942
  • The Second Battle of El Alamein begins with a 1,000-gun bombardment. The Eighth Army gains ground on a 6-mile front and repulses Axis counter-attacks.
26 Oct 1942
  • Battle of Santa Cruz, with US forces attacking the large Japanese supporting fleet near Guadalcanal.
  • RAAF No.9 Fighter Settor in Cairns, took possession of the Edge Hill Progress Association Hall in Mayer Street, for Headquarters and accommodation for 50 personnel of No.33 Zone Filter Centre.
  • RAAF 9 Filter Sector took over Edge Hill Hall, Cairns.
28 Oct 1942
  • Jacky Jacky airfield gravel runway became operational.
  • USASOS Coopers Plains Depot, the US Army 1st Engineers Stores Base Depot (ESBD) and the 3rd Provisional Ordnance Service Centre established at Coopers Plains.
    More information about where this took place.
30 Oct 1942
31 Oct 1942
  • State Parliament advised that due to milk shortage in Townsville, quantities were now being transferred from Malanda to meet Townsville’s requirement of 6,000 gallons per day.
  • A large US Ammunition facility, named ‘Kangaroo’ was situated and operated about 25 miles north of Townsville, near the Kurukan rail siding. Cosisting of 87 ammunition stores, 22 miles of internal roads and 2 camps.
  • The US Base. Section Two, Q.M. Chicken Farm, established at Coconut Grove, Oonoomba providing fresh eggs and table birds to regional army hospitals.
  • A large US Ordnance Service Centre, named ‘Koala’, established at Stuart, on the outskirts of Townsville, on the site of what is now the Stuart Cement Works.
1 Nov 1942
  • Woodstock, Reid River and Torrens Creek airfields completed.
  • General Blamey ordered survey of Atherton Tableland for combined recuperation and jungle warfare training facilities for Australian troops of the 6 and 7 Divisions AIF, heading for New Guinea—known as the Atherton Project.
  • RAAF Catalina Squadrons No’s 11 & 20 moved from Bowen to Cairns.
  • First three tanks under construction at RAAF 9 Inland Aircraft Fuel Depot, Charters Towers.
  • RAAF 23 Inland Aircraft Fuel Depot (IAFD), Cloncurry under construction.
  • Fairmile Naval Base, encompassing HMAS Moreton was established at Colmslie, on the southern bank of the Brisbane River.
    More information about where this took place.
  • 65th Squadron, 43rd USAAF Bomb Group, stations at Mareeba.
2 Nov 1942
  • The capture of Kokoda, New Guinea, and its airstrip enabled the Australian advance across the Owen Stanley Range to continue.
4 Nov 1942
  • Allies broke through German-Italian lines at El Alamein in North Africa and forced an Axis retreat to Tunisia.
  • The 1st AWTU (Australian Water Transport Unit), AIF, was formed.
  • RAAF installed No. 45 RDF (Radio Direction Finding) Station at Stanley Island.
6 Nov 1942
  • RAAF No.7 Squadron moved from Nowra to Townsville, with detachments at Cooktown and Horn Island.
  • General MacArthur visits Townsville.
7 Nov 1942
  • RAAF installed 27 RDF (Radio Direction Finding) Station at Dunk Island.
  • US Navy Camp Perry Park, at Bowen Hills, Brisbane is established and utilised until 23 November 1945. Follwing the US departure, it was used by Royal Australian Navy.
    More information about where this took place.
  • Airstrip constructed at Cooktown Mission, became RAAF Cooktown.
8 Nov 1942
  • Operation ‘Torch’ begins with Anglo-American forces under Lieutenant General Eisenhower landing in Morocco and Algeria.
  • USAAF 15th Weather Squadron arrives in Townsville, from Melbourne, and became a component of the Fifth Air Force. Stations were detached to many North Queensland towns.
  • 64th Squadron, 43rd USAAF Bomb Group, stations at Mareeba.
9 Nov 1942
12 Nov 1942
  • Naval Battle of Guadalcanal.
  • The Adelaide Steam Ship Company’s NQ Sugar Lighter, M.V. WORTANNA was requisitioned into the US Army Small Ships Section.
15 Nov 1942
  • No.1 ACH (Army Camp Hospital) arrived at Thursday Island, from Atherton Showgrounds, en route to Horn Island.
  • RAAF installed 44 RDF (Radio Direction Finding) Station at Cooktown.
  • RAN Station 4 and Fort Skirmish at Woorim was fully operational.
    More information about where this took place.
16 Nov 1942
  • Beginning of advance on Buna-Gona in New Guinea, by US 32nd Division and Australian 7th Division. Australians captured Gona on 9 December, but Buna not taken until January 1943.
  • Army conducted chemical warfare trails near Townsville with 25pdr gas shells.
18 Nov 1942
  • RAAF No.1 TMU (Torpedo Maintenance Unit) established at Breddan.
  • RAAF No.32 Squadron moved from Horn Island to Camden.
  • No.5 RAAF Transportation and Movements Office was established in Brisbane. The site after the war became the New Zealand Loan and Mercantile Agency Company warehouse and Energex Depot.
    More information about where this took place.
  • RAAF 45 Radar Station established on Stanley Island, off Cape York Peninsula.
19 Nov 1942
  • The Red Army opens its winter offensive with a pincer movement round Stalingrad with the aim of encircling and destroying the German forces.
20 Nov 1942
  • The Eighth Army reaches Benghazi.
  • Mount Isa butchering yards and cold rooms were nearing completion with work delayed by non-arrival of essential machinery and fittings.
22 Nov 1942
  • No.4 Volunteer Air Observers Corps formed in Townsville.
23 Nov 1942
  • Japanese air raid on Darwin, Australia.
  • Cape York telephone carrier system completed to improve communication between Townsville and Thursday Island with repeater stations at Mount Surprise, Fairview, Coen and Cape York.
26 Nov 1942
  • Battle of Brisbane between Australian and US troops.
28 Nov 1942
  • A detachment of the Mareeba US Army 2nd Station Hospital set up 150 bed hospital at Gordonvale, utilizing the Commercial Hotel and the Central Hotel.
1 Dec 1942
  • HMAS Armidale was sunk by Japanese aircraft near Timor. As the Armidale sank Able Seaman Teddy Sheean fired at attacking bombers until he was lost with his ship.
  • Australian Army Medical Woman’s Service (AAMWS) formed from Voluntary Aid Detachments.
  • Headquarters of the Australian Army in north Queensland transferred from Townsville to the Atherton Tableland. Major program of construction planned.
  • The RAAF 21 Inland Aircraft Fuel Depot at Yarraman was operational.
    More information about where this took place.
2 Dec 1942
  • The Central Hotel in Gordonvale, became the American Red Cross. (Amcross).
  • US 503 Parachute Infantry Regiment moved to Gordonvale.
3 Dec 1942
  • Women between 18 and 30 years called up for war work.
6 Dec 1942
  • US 46th Engineers scheduled to depart from Iron Range, with the arrival of Allied Works Council to complete topping and sealing of the 120° ‘Gordon’ and the 160° ‘Claudie’ airstrips.
7 Dec 1942
  • Newstead wharf was acquired by the US Navy through the Australian Army Hiring Service. The Naval Supply Depot and USN Shipping Office operated on the site until September 1945.
    More information about where this took place.
  • Rocky Springs US Remount Depot, known as Rodeo, established near Townsville to provide pack horses for New Guinea operations.
8 Dec 1942
  • School of Arts building in Atherton taken over by the Red Cross.
  • Construction approved for tanks 1 and 2 at Edge Hill naval oil fuel installation, Cairns. Construction began mid-1943.
10 Dec 1942
11 Dec 1942
  • RAAF No.36 Squadron moved from Essendon to Townsville.
12 Dec 1942
  • Having staged overnight at Oonoomba, the 2/14th AGH (Australian General Hospital) arrived at its new site at Pallarenda, Townsville, which was at the time, used as a Quarantine Staging Camp.
13 Dec 1942
14 Dec 1942
  • Atherton Tablelands Base Area established.
15 Dec 1942
  • Antill Plains aerodrome completed.
17 Dec 1942
  • Cabinet approved expenditure on facilities for two AIF divisions and ancillary troops on the Atherton Tableland. Approval given for commencement of works.
  • HMAS PLATYPUS, sailed from Darwin to take up Base Ship duties in Cairns.
18 Dec 1942
  • The AAMWS (Australian Army Medical Women’s Service) established within the Australian Army Medical Corps. VAD (Voluntary Aid Detachments) were absorbed into this new service.
22 Dec 1942
  • Chifley is appointed as Minister of Post-War Reconstruction in Australia.
  • Rail services between Townsville and Brisbane, and all rail traffic west of Hughenden were suspended until 03 JAN 43, due to heavy rainfall resulting in flooding, washouts and track damage.
25 Dec 1942
  • RAAF No.33 Squadron moved from Townsville to Port Moresby. (306)
  • The largest Bread Contractor for supply to the Army in Townsville was burnt out. The baking of the additional bread required from other bakers was borne mostly by the 2/2 Field Bakery at Charters Towers.
26 Dec 1942
  • Construction of the Jacky Jacky strip was abandoned, incomplete.
28 Dec 1942
  • 31st Infantry Battalion returned to Cairns by sea; from Red Island, having completed its tour of duty at Jacky Jacky airstrip.
  • AWAS Recruit Training School opened at Central State School in Townsville, with 66 students.
30 Dec 1942
  • The US Motor Transport Fuel Depot, Alba Siding, near the Alba Wool Scour at Hughenden was operational.
    More information about where this took place.
  • At Antill Plains southwest of Townsville, two runways were sealed for all weather use, and operations buildings and camp facilities for 800 men had been provided.
  • Land is acquired to develop Camp Yeppoon (US) Rehabilitation and Training facility.
    More information about where this took place.

1943

1 Jan 1943
  • Work began on the Atherton Project. Construction contractors were required to plant vegetables to provide fresh produce for their workforce.
  • Works on the Endeavour Coastal Battery, on Entrance (Zuna) Island was commenced.
    More information about where this took place.
  • Bitumen sealing commenced on the Mount Isa- Tennant Creek road. Completed May 1944 as the Barkly Highway.
  • Units of the 6 Division AIF encamped at Ravenshoe and Millstream.
  • 2/3rd. Battalion, 16th Brigade, 6th. Division encamped at Ravenshoe, Atherton Tablelands.
  • Commonwealth Prices Commission officers visited Townsville to investigate profiteering by civilian traders.
2 Jan 1943
  • Allies take Buna in New Guinea.
  • Horn Island heavy anti-aircraft (HAA) guns proof fired.
3 Jan 1943
  • Commencement was made on the construction of Ration Stores for the Australian Army at Golden Grove, Atherton.
  • Commencement of Golden Grove ration stores, Atherton.
4 Jan 1943
  • First of 164 burials at Atherton War Cemetery.
5 Jan 1943
  • 5 Australian Camp Hospital moved from Rocky Creek to North Cairns State School. 2/2 Australian General Hospital from Watten took over Rocky Creek hospital. Major development began.
  • The Rocky Creek hospital area taken up by the 2/2nd AGH (Australian General Hospital), which had moved from it’s flooded-out site at Watten, near Hughenden.
6 Jan 1943
  • RAAF 3 Replenishing Centre moved Townsville to Towers Hill, Charters Towers.
10 Jan 1943
  • RAAF 44 Radar Station established on Grassy Hill, Cooktown.
12 Jan 1943
  • Beginning of allied attack on Sanananda, New Guinea.
13 Jan 1943
  • The remaining troops in North Queensland, after 5th Division had departed for New Guinea, were combined and formed into a defence unit called ‘Yorkforce’.
  • The US Navy Audio Visual Aids Training facility was located in New Farm, on the CSR Refinery site. The location is now home to Cutters Landing Residential Apartments.
    More information about where this took place.
15 Jan 1943
  • US forces launch their final offensive on Guadalcanal.
  • US 411 Engineer Base Shop Battalion arrived at Cairns to build 600 plywood Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP) Boats.
  • Garbutt Air Depot completed. The nearby runway at Stock Route had been connected to the three runways at Garbutt by 11/4 mile taxiway.
  • The 12 Australian Advanced Ordnance Depot had completed the move from the Hughenden golf links to the new site at Baronta, to be joined by 7 Australian Advanced Armament Depot.
    More information about where this took place.
17 Jan 1943
  • Australian 12 Advanced Ordnance Depot moved from Hughenden to Baronta Explosives Reserve; joined by 7 AAD.
19 Jan 1943
  • Australian Women’s Land Army established.
21 Jan 1943
  • RAAF No. 10 RSU moved from Breddan to Macrossan.
22 Jan 1943
  • Japanese defeated on Sanananda track: end of resistance in Papua New Guinea. The Australians lost over 2,000 dead and 3,500 wounded, while almost 30,000 had to be evacuated sick.
  • RAAF 43 Radar Station established at Portland Roads near Iron Range.
  • US 43rd Bombardment Group, moved out of Mareeba.
23 Jan 1943
  • M.V. MAUI arrived in Townsville from San Fransisco, en route to Sydney, disembarking 14 US Troop Entertainers.
  • Cricket match at the Hambledon Sugar Mill oval, south of Cairns, between RAAF (Catalinas) and Navy (HMAS PLATYPUS). The RAAF conceded defeat.
24 Jan 1943
  • A Rest Home for AWAS was established temporarily in the house of Mr. F. Hayles, at Arcadia, Magnetic Island.
  • The 2/27th battalion, 21st Brigade, 7th Division, encamped at Ravenshoe.
25 Jan 1943
29 Jan 1943
  • Battle of Wau, New Guinea, begins.
  • Introduction of limited conscription for overseas service.
31 Jan 1943
  • German forces surrender at Stalingrad—90% of the German effort in the Second World War was directed against Russia.
1 Feb 1943
  • Twenty Japanese destroyers begin the evacuation of 13,000 troops from Guadalcanal.
  • Last Australian forces sail for home from the Middle East.
  • RAAF No.42 RDF Wing formed in Townsville, responsible for the operation and technical control of nine Air Warning RDF (Radio Direction Finding) Stations.
  • USAAF units departed Iron Range for New Guinea.
  • RAAF No.10 RSU moved from Macrossan to Milne Bay.
6 Feb 1943
9 Feb 1943
  • Japanese defeat on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands.
10 Feb 1943
  • The train carrying the 10th Field Company, RAE, came to a halt at Edmonton, for departure up the tablelands to a campsite at Kairi, on the Barron River.
  • RAE commenced a base camp at Kairi for occupation by 9 Division AIF.
13 Feb 1943
  • RAN store Depth Charges at the State Magazines at Queerah, outside Cairns.
  • US 2nd Field Hospital took over total operations of the hospital at Woodstock, from 13th Station Hospital.
15 Feb 1943
  • US engineers and boat maintenance units arrived in Cairns to establish amphibious training facilities for 9 Division AIF.
  • At Reid River, three sealed runways, camp accommodation for 900 men, and complete operational facilities had been established.
  • Three runways were sealed at Woodstock and operations and camp accommodation for 1,300 men were available.
17 Feb 1943
  • In Norman Park at Gordonvale, south of Cairns, a specially constructed facility for packing of parachutes was built for the US 503rd Parachute Regiment. 24 local volunteer women were selected as ‘packers’, and underwent training at the Lyric Theatre.
18 Feb 1943
  • 9th Australian Division arrives at Fremantle—Having served in North Africa the 9th Division was ordered back to help defend Australia against the Japanese.
19 Feb 1943
  • Federal Government passed a Bill, empowering the sending of the Militia anywhere in the South West Pacific zone.
23 Feb 1943
  • The Townsville Harbour Board constructed, for the Royal Australian Navy, a modern design saw-tooth roof Naval Workshop, on reclaimed land on the Western Breakwater.
25 Feb 1943
  • Optical Repair Section of the US 3rd Medical Supply Depot was opened for operation at 229 Flinders St. Townsville.
1 Mar 1943
  • 2/2nd and 2/3rd Battalion, 16th Brigade, 6th. Division moved camp on the Atherton Tablelands from Ravenshoe to Wondecla, near the Herberton Racecourse.
  • ‘Q’ Battery, RAA, moved to Turtle Head on Hammond Island for coastal defence of the Torres Strait—known as Turtle Battery.
  • Gravel airfield constructed at Inverleigh station near the Gulf of Carpentaria.
  • Camp Oxley—Base Section 3 Engineers, 28th Chemical Warfare Coy, US Army is established.
    More information about where this took place.
  • Units of 6 Division AIF moved camp to Ravenshoe and Wondecla.
  • Torres Strait Light Infantry Battalion formed on Thursday Island.
2 Mar 1943
  • The battle of the Bismarck Sea opens Northeast of New Guinea. A Japanese convoy is attacked by USAAF B25 bombers, which sink 12 ships.
3 Mar 1943
  • US Base Section 2 set up a ‘Leave Area’ in Mackay which included the Grand and Eimo Hotels. The area was used almost exclusively by the Air Corp, usually flown direct from Port Moresby.
4 Mar 1943
  • Units of 7 Division AIF moved camp to Ravenshoe and Millstream.
  • 2/33rd Battalion, 25th Brigade, 7th Division, AIF, after having taken leave on return from New Guinea, moved to a Ravenshoe camp site, the very last 7th Division camp, along the Palmerston Highway.
5 Mar 1943
  • RAAF installed 42 RDF (Radio Direction Finding) Station at Cape Edgecumbe, Bowen.
  • RAAF 42 Radar Station established at Cape Edgecumbe, near Bowen.
  • 2/1st Battalion, 16th Brigade, 6th Division, AIF, arrived at a new campsite, designated “Q”, near Wondecla, Atherton Tablelands. “Q” Camp lines were nearest Herberton.
6 Mar 1943
  • 55th/53rd Australian Infantry Battalion, returning home from the Gona Campaign, on S.S. DUNTROON berthed at Cairns, and entrained to the Ravenshoe camp area to disperse on leave.
  • US 46th Air Service Group departs Mareeba.
10 Mar 1943
12 Mar 1943
  • RAAF No.25 Operational Base Unit in Cairns, took over two residences and surrounding property at Magee and Hamilton Streets, Aeroglen, as Officers Mess and Wireless Transmitter Station.
13 Mar 1943
  • Japanese reconnaissance flight over Darwin.
14 Mar 1943
  • 39th and 49th Militia Battalions, disembarked from Port Morseby and entrained for Wondecla, near Herberton on the Atherton Tablelands.
15 Mar 1943
  • Queensland Main Roads Commission was called upon to convert the Jacky Jacky strip to a heavy bomber field.
16 Mar 1943
  • Battle of the Atlantic peaked as German U-Boats sank 27 merchant ships in five days.
  • RAAF installed 311 RDF (Radio Direction Finding) Station at Archer Bay, western coast, Cape York Peninsular.
17 Mar 1943
19 Mar 1943
  • Units of the 6th Division A.I.F. established camp at Wondecla, Herberton District, Atherton Tablelands.
20 Mar 1943
  • Troops returning to Townsville from New Guinea entered Julago staging camp.
22 Mar 1943
  • General MacArthur’s GHQ produced the Moultrie Plan for defence of the Torres Strait area.
23 Mar 1943
24 Mar 1943
  • Lieutenant General Walter Kreuger, C.O. US Sixth Army inspects US 503rd Parachute Regiment camp at Gordonvale, south of Cairns.
25 Mar 1943
  • RAAF installed *313 RDF (Radio Direction Finding) Station at Mornington Island.
27 Mar 1943
  • RAAF No.84 Squadron moved from Richmond to Cairns.
29 Mar 1943
  • RAAF installed 52 RDF (Radio Direction Finding) Station at Mutee Head, at the tip of Cape York Peninsular.
30 Mar 1943
  • RAAF requisitioned construction of buildings and services at Karumba flying boat base.
  • The Salisbury Civil Construction Corps (CCC) Staging and Transit Camp was constructed. The camp consisted of a uniform arrangement of sleeping huts, surrounding a kitchen and mess hall arrangement.
    More information about where this took place.
31 Mar 1943
  • ‘Anti-Tank Regiments’ had a name change to ‘Tank Attack Regiments’.
  • The Australian 9th Division marches through Melbourne watched by more than half a million people.
  • A survey of Wellington Pont, on Moreton Bay, shows structures existing relating to the US Navy Gunnery and Anti-Aircraft Training School. A series of gun pits were also built along the north east shoreline.
    More information about where this took place.
1 Apr 1943
  • RAAF No.84 Squadron moved from Cairns to Horn Island.
  • US Navy Fleet Post Office established South Townsville.
  • RAAF 42 Radar Station at Bowen, north Queensland is redesignated the RAAF 55 Radar Station. It is set up at Cape Edgecumbe, overlooking Horseshoe and Murrays Bay.
    More information about where this took place.
  • RAAF 15 Replenishing Centre commenced operation near Cairns.
  • Endeavour Coastal Battery, on Entrance (Zuna) Island, Torres Strait was operational.
    More information about where this took place.
  • Units of 9 Division AIF encamped at Kairi on return from Middle East. Other units camped near Danbulla and Tinaroo.
  • Copper smelting began at Mount Isa Mines.
2 Apr 1943
  • RAAF requisitioned construction of two large igloo warehouses at 8 Stores depot, Macrossan airfield.
3 Apr 1943
  • 2/2 Australian Machine Gun Battalion AIF encamped on the western slopes of Python Hill near Kairi, Atherton Tablelands.
4 Apr 1943
  • RAAF No.84 Squadron (Boomerangs) commenced operation.
5 Apr 1943
  • Sir Lesley Wilson, Governor of Queensland inspects the RAAF intelligence centre (No.1 Wireless Unit) at Stuart Creek, Townsville.
6 Apr 1943
  • 2/43rd Battalion, 24 Brigade 9th Division AIF encamped at Camp G, Kairi, Atherton Tablelands, having staged the previous night at Redlynch, after a long train ride from Adelaide.
7 Apr 1943
  • The 2/7th Australian Field Regiment detrained in the dark, at Kairi, Atherton Tablelands, after the long train journey from Seymour in Victoria.
  • 2/24th and 2/48th Battalions, 26 Brigade, 9th Division, AIF, encamped within a couple of hundred yards of the Barron River near Kairi, Atherton Tablelands. The Kairi, or Danbulla District camp, was situated close by the present site of the Tinaroo Dam wall.
  • The first LCVP was launched at the US 411th Engineer Base Shop Battalion assembly plant at Smiths Creek in Cairns.
8 Apr 1943
  • The 2/4th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, began arriving at 9th Divisional area at Kairi, on the Atherton Tablelands.
9 Apr 1943
  • Sir Lesley Wilson, Governor of Queensland inspects US 503rd Parachute Regiment camp at Gordonvale, south of Cairns.
10 Apr 1943
  • 2/12th Australian Field Regiment arrived at Redlynch, Staging Camp, en route to their campsite close to the Barron river, at Python Hill, Kairi.
12 Apr 1943
13 Apr 1943
  • 31st Infantry Battalion and 51st Infantry Battalion were linked, to form the composite 31/51st Battalion near Yatee rail siding, south of Cairns.
14 Apr 1943
  • The 12th Air Depot Group, of the US Army Fifth Air Force, comprising Headquarters, H.Q. Squadron and 1699th Ordnance arrived at Mount Louisa, Townsville, joining the 4th ADC.
15 Apr 1943
  • Special Operations Australia, (SOA) was established.
  • Barron Valley Hotel requisitioned by the Australian Army as ‘3 ADCS Officer’s Club, Type A’. General Blamey made this hotel his HQ for a brief time.
16 Apr 1943
  • Townsville Ordnance Depot at Stuart designated Koala Ordnance Depot. Ten large igloo stores constructed during 1943.
19 Apr 1943
  • 2/13th Battalion. 20th Infantry Brigade, arrived at Kairi, Atherton Tablelands, having staged at Redlynch for two days.
20 Apr 1943
  • 2/3rd Australian Anti-Tank Regiment, 9th Division, arrived at Redlynch, entraining the following day for Kairi.
  • Australian 2/6 Australian General Hospital moved to Rocky Creek from Middle East.
21 Apr 1943
  • Australian Army HQ Queensland Line of Command Area Signal Office, Cypher Section, established temporarily at Stuart State School, near Townsville.
22 Apr 1943
  • 2/17th Battalion after a long train journey from Narrallan, NSW, having staged overnight at Redlynch, arrived at new camp site at Python Ridge near Kairi, Atherton Tablelands.
23 Apr 1943
  • Kanga Force dissolved and Headquarters 3rd Division takes over direction of Salamaua campaign
26 Apr 1943
  • 2/1st Company, Australian Army Service Corps (AASC), responsible for Daily Issue Stores at Wondecla and Atherton.
28 Apr 1943
  • RAAF No.15 Replenishing Centre established at Cairns.
  • RAAF No.33 Operational Base Unit established at Garbutt.
30 Apr 1943
  • A.I.F. II Corps, under Lieutenant General Leslie Morshead, formed headquarters at Barrine, Atherton Tablelands.
  • Work was completed on the facilities for the RAAF 23 Inland Aviation Fuel Depot at Cloncurry.
    More information about where this took place.
  • 2/2nd Battalion in camp at Wondecla.
1 May 1943
  • RAAF Catalina No. 43 Squadron formed at Bowen. The following month it moved to Karumba on the Gulf of Carpentaria.
  • Work began on degaussing testing range at Orpheus Island.
3 May 1943
  • Guns of Turtle Battery, Hammond Island, were proof fired.
5 May 1943
  • First Australian Army Commander, Lieutenant General John Lavarack, visited Kairi, inspecting 9th Division troops, with the 2/43rd Battalion provided the Guard.
6 May 1943
  • 3 RAAF No.86 Squadron moved from Gawler to Townsville.
8 May 1943
  • 10th Field Company, RAE, moved from Kairi to Wongabel, approximately six miles from Atherton.
10 May 1943
  • US Army Base Section 2 Engineers together with the Allied Works Council commenced preliminary work on the Cairns Transshipment Port Project.
11 May 1943
  • Criterion Hotel in Townsville hired for accommodation of WRANS.
12 May 1943
  • Surrender of all German and Italian forces in Tunisia.
14 May 1943
  • A Japanese submarine sinks the Australian hospital ship AHS CENTAUR resulting in 268 dead.
15 May 1943
  • Queensland Main Roads Commission constructed a Degaussing Station for the Allied Works Council, at Orpheus Island in the Palm Group.
  • 64 survivors of the AHS Centaur disaster were delivered to the Greenslopes Hospital.
    More information about where this took place.
17 May 1943
  • Top brass descended on 2/2nd Battalion at Wondecla, comprising C-in-C, General Blamey: the Corps Commander, General Morshead: and Divisional Commander, General Stevens, together with their staffs.?
20 May 1943
23 May 1943
  • 9th Division published its first tablelands army newspaper at Atherton called “Table Tops”. The Press Unit was in Joe Wilkinson’s house in Louise Street.
  • 6th Division held a Divisional Parade on the Herberton Racecourse. The following day the Governor-General of Australia, Lord Gowrie, inspected training, and expressed his satisfaction.
24 May 1943
  • 10th Field Company, RAE, stayed at Wongabel until 24 MAY 43, when they moved by road convoy to Innisfail, to entrain to Townsville.
  • The Governor-General, Lord Gowrie VC, visited the 7th Division at Ravenshoe.
25 May 1943
  • 26th Militia Battalion marched from their camp at Kuranda, to Redlynch station, and entrained to Cairns wharf, sailing for Thursday Island, and Horn Island.
  • The Governor-General. Lord Gowrie, visited the 9th. Division at Kairi.
26 May 1943
  • US 197th Coastal Artillery Battalion and Company “A” 387th Port Battalion departed Iron Range, via Portland Roads for advanced areas.
27 May 1943
  • 2/24th Battalion, base camped at Kairi, Atherton Tablelands, enjoyed a bivouac at Lake Barrine, with a swimming carnival.
28 May 1943
  • RAAF 55 Radar Station established at Queens Beach, Bowen.
29 May 1943
  • 9th Division troops attended a hack meeting at Kulara in the Kairi/Tinaroo area, the first of a popular fortnightly series.
31 May 1943
  • RAAF No.8 Squadron (Beaufort Torpedo Bombers), moved from Canberra to Bohle River Townsville.
  • Armed Merchant Cruisers, HMAS WESTRALIA and HMAS KANIMBLA returned to service in the RAN, after conversion to LSIs (Landing Ship Infantry).
1 Jun 1943
  • The Air Board approved the extension of the Iron Range Heavy Bomber Base, including a dispersal area, upgrading ‘Gordon’ strip, and a new 160° strip to replace ‘Claudie’ strip, because its location in low country made it vulnerable to flooding.
  • RAAF 28 Radar Station established on Fitzroy Island, near Cairns.
  • Construction of Camp Meeandah and the US Army General Depot at Pinkenba, Brisbane began. The site was taken over by the Australian Army after the war and maintained as Damascus Barracks.
    More information about where this took place.
  • Work proceeded on construction of concrete warfare stores at RAAF Replenishing Centre, Talmoi, near Richmond.
  • The U.S. Army 156th Station Hospital and 102 Aust General Hospital are established at Ekibin, Brisbane.
    More information about where this took place.
3 Jun 1943
  • RAN hires Dr. Mansfield’s house, 249 Lake St. Cairns as Quarters for Naval Officers.
6 Jun 1943
  • 2/6th Australian Independent Company arrived at Wondecla, after a three day train journey from Canungra. The unit soon moved to a basic bushland campsite at Wongabel.
7 Jun 1943
  • Butter rationing introduced in Australia.
  • RAAF No.5 Squadron moved from Kingaroy to Mareeba and carried out Army co-operation training programmes using Wirraway, Tiger Moth, and Boomerang aircraft.
  • RAAF installed 136 RDF (Radio Direction Finding) Station at Alligator Creek, Cape Cleveland, Townsville. This station, the only one of its type in North Queensland.
9 Jun 1943
  • RAAF installed 320 RDF (Radio Direction Finding) Station at Mitchell River, western coast, Cape York Peninsular.
  • US Base 2 Intelligence Section in Townsville, due to lack of secure office space, took over a dwelling at No.3 Landsborough St. North Ward. In the grounds at the rear of the house, two tents were erected for enlisted personnel.
10 Jun 1943
  • 2/9th Australian Armoured (Tank) Regiment arrived a Tomoulin on the Atherton Tablelands for several weeks training with 7th Division Infantry Units.
14 Jun 1943
  • Jacky Jacky airfield at Red Island Point, Cape York Peninsula was renamed "Higgins Field" to commemorate FLLT Brian H. Higgins AFC., a noted deceased Catalina pilot of NO.11 Squadron RAAF.
  • USAAF B-17 Flying Fortress, attached to the 46th Troop Carrier Squadron, crashed at Bakers Creek via Mackay, on the site now occupied by Thomas Borthwick’s abattoir, killing 39 of the 40 servicemen on board.
15 Jun 1943
  • The German raider Michel sinks 2 ships off the west coast of Australia.
16 Jun 1943
  • The first Australian troops to undertake amphibian exercises—the 2/43rd Battalion, 24th Brigade—arrived at Deadman’s Gully near Trinity Beach north of Cairns.
17 Jun 1943
  • Last air raid on Horn Island by a Japanese flying boat. Bombs jettisoned in sea.
18 Jun 1943
  • Australian government announces that Australia is no longer threatened with invasion, as the Japanese no longer had the capacity to threaten Australia.
  • The 15th ADG (Air Depot Group), of the US Army Fifth Air Force, arrived in Townsville by train to join with the 4th and 12 ADC at Mount Louisa, Townsville, bringing the personnel total to 4,200.
20 Jun 1943
21 Jun 1943
  • 11 Battery, 2/4th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, began Amphibious Training at Trinity Beach, with the US 523rd Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment, practicing the loading and unloading their Bofor guns on and off LCM’s.
22 Jun 1943
  • ‘Scorpion’ raid with dummy limpet mines placed on hulls of ships in Townsville Harbour by ‘Z’ Special Unit, led by Captain S.W. Carey, Australian Army.
23 Jun 1943
  • The US navy ceased activities at the US Navy Commissioned Officers Club Mess and 7th Fleet Officers Club at New Farm, Brisbane.
    More information about where this took place.
  • Land Headquarters Medical Research Unit engaged in malaria research, sharing North Cairns State School with 5 Australian Camp Hospital.
24 Jun 1943
25 Jun 1943
  • General MacArthur and General Blarney visit Townsville, in the V.I.P. B-17 Flying Fortress, ‘Bataan’, en-route to visit Gordonvale, south of Cairns, where they witnessed US 503rd Parachute Regiment jump at Green Hill.
28 Jun 1943
  • The RAAF 135th Radar Station is developed at Pinkenba.
    More information about where this took place.
  • 2/8th Battalion, 19th Brigade, 6th Division, advance party took over Camp B, Flaggy Creek, Wondecla, Atherton Tablelands. The remainder of the Battalion were on leave.
29 Jun 1943
  • US Marines land on Nassau beach near Lae in New Guinea during Operation ‘Cartwheel’.
  • 31/51st Battalion troops and stores were loaded on supply ship, VAN DER LYN, at Cairns, sailing for Horn Island, where the Battalion was staging.
  • A LHQ NQ Security Conference was informed that, in NQ, there were 342 known enemy aliens, and 533 aliens, of whom 138 were noted for detention in the event of invasion.
30 Jun 1943
  • A US general hospital planned at Black River, near Townsville.
  • Camp Strathpine, with access points at Petrie, Joyner, Cashmere, and Warner in Brisbane’s north, is occupied by the US 1st Cavalry Division. They departed in early 1944.
    More information about where this took place.
1 Jul 1943
  • Units of the 6, 7 and 9 Divisions embarked from Cairns for New Guinea.
  • 19th, 36th and 14/32nd Battalions, 6th Infantry Brigade were camped at Kuranda, Atherton Tablelands.
2 Jul 1943
  • US troops land on New Georgia in the Solomon’s.
3 Jul 1943
  • US troops from Nassau Beach link up with the Australians who are under heavy attack at Mubo in New Guinea.
4 Jul 1943
  • 20th Brigade, AIF, underwent Amphibious Training.
5 Jul 1943
  • A convoy of 60 trucks of 131 General Transport Coy, transferred 2/17th Battalion, 20th Brigade, AIF, troops from Kairi to Deadman’s Gully on the coastal strip near Trinity Beach for Amphibious Training, with the US 523rd B & S Regiment.
6 Jul 1943
  • General Douglas MacArthur, Command Allied Forces, South-West Pacific Area, accompanied by Generals Morshead and Wootten, witnessed the-2/7th Field Regiment demonstrate gun-drill at the Herberton artillery range.
9 Jul 1943
  • Nos. 3 and 450 Squadrons, RAAF, and eight RAN corvettes involved in the allied invasion of Sicily, Italy.
10 Jul 1943
  • Magnetic Island Port War Signal Station (PWSS) completed.
12 Jul 1943
  • Troops of the 7th Division took part in a full divisional field exercise, marching from campsites at Ravenshoe.
13 Jul 1943
  • 2/3rd LAA Battery marched into Kairi camp, from the Redlynch staging camp.
  • US Army Paratroopers carried out invasion training with A.I.F. 6th and 7th Division. at Mount Garnet, Atherton Tablelands.
15 Jul 1943
  • US 63rd Station Hospital relieved the Detachment of the 2nd Station Hospital at Gordonvale, which then joined its parent organization at Mareeba.
  • A Company, 2/33rd Battalion, 25th Brigade, began moving out from their Ravenshoe camp to the 13th Australian Army Personnel Staging Camp at Oonoomba ready for embarkation to Port Moresby.
16 Jul 1943
  • General Vasey reviewed his Division (7th) at the Mount Garnet Racecourse, in a prelude to an inspection by the Commander-in-Chief.
17 Jul 1943
  • Three vessels arrived in Townsville from Port Moresby, with approximately 2500 US personnel of the 163rd Infantry Regimental Combat Team, 41st Infantry Division. Seven trains railed these troops to Rockhampton.
  • Mount Garnet Racecourse again presented a magnificent spectacle at the full strength 7th Division paraded before the Commander-in-Chief, General Sir Thomas Blarney.
20 Jul 1943
  • HMAS Hobart torpedoed off San Cristobal, Solomon Islands. Seven officers and six ratings were killed in the attack. Though badly damaged the Hobart was able to reach Espirtu Santo the next day.
  • Most of the Australian 20th Brigade sailed from Cairns on troopships S.S. CANBERRA, S.S. TAROONA and S.S. DUNTROON destined for Port Moresby.
  • The RAAF 29 Operational Base Unit was operational at Inverleigh Airfield, near Normanton.
    More information about where this took place.
23 Jul 1943
  • 12 Battery, 2/4th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, marched into the Kairi camp, via the Redlynch staging camp.
26 Jul 1943
  • 26th Brigade commenced Amphibious Training at Trinity Beach.
30 Jul 1943
  • HMAS WESTRALIA and HMAS MANOORA (Converted Armed Merchant Ships), together with escort USS DRAYTON, berthed at Cairns, embarked Australian Ninth Division troops for Milne Bay.
  • 2/12th Australian Field Regiment marched out of their 9th Division camp at Kairi, to Redlynch Staging Camp.
  • The Cape River Meat Works, manned by the 2/1 Field Butchery Company was operational.
    More information about where this took place.
  • The Kingaroy Airfield consisted of four strips: North-South (3300’); East-West (4800’); NW-SE (5280’); and SW-NE (4500’), but by July 1945 it became an emergency landing ground.
    More information about where this took place.
31 Jul 1943
  • 2/2nd Australian Field Regiment arrived at a new campsite at Kairi.
  • RAAF planned to store 40 per cent of North Eastern Area (NEA) chemical warfare stocks at Talmoi.
  • Camp Maryborough, south of Tinana was commenced to house the US Army’s 27th Infantry Division, which didn’t arrive in Queensland. The camp was utilised by the RAAF.
    More information about where this took place.
1 Aug 1943
  • RAAF 57 Radar Station established at Kissing Point, Townsville.
2 Aug 1943
  • US Transport Ship USS HENRY T ALLEN berthed at Cairns and began loading equipment of the 2/48th Battalion.
  • Work commenced on the earth mat for the installation of RAAF HF/DF Station at Karumba.
3 Aug 1943
  • 12 Battery, 2/4th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment moved from Kairi to Trinity Beach.
4 Aug 1943
  • RAAF Catalina on return from a ‘milk run’, landed alongside Ruby Reef out from Cairns where a Vultee Vengeance (A27-235) had made a forced landing. The crew were picked up in one of the Catalina’s dinghies.
  • 9/43rd Battalion, broke camp at Kairi and returned by convoy to Deadman’s Gully for a brush up on Amphibious Training.
10 Aug 1943
  • US Transport HENRY ALLEN sailed from Cairns with segments of the 2/2 Australian Machine Gun Battalion A.I.F. bound for Milne Bay.
11 Aug 1943
  • RAAF installed 53 RDF (Radio Direction Finding) Australian ‘low flying’ AW (Air Warning) Station at Mount Surprise.
14 Aug 1943
  • 2/12th Battalion departed Ravenshoe in two road convoys, via the Palmerston Highway, through Millaa Millaa to Innisfail, where they entrained to 13th Personnel Staging Camp at Oonoomba.
15 Aug 1943
  • 2/2nd Battalion, 16th Brigade, 6th Division moved to Deadman’s Gully near Trinity Beach to commence two weeks amphibious training with the US 523rd Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment.
16 Aug 1943
  • U.S. troops enter Messina in North eastern Sicily in a final push to clear the island. Axis evacuation of 100,000 troops has been completed.
  • 2/1 Australian Convalescent Depot established at Lake Barrine, Atherton Tablelands.
  • Ten igloo stores built at Tolga for 13 AOD.
  • 54th Australian Deputy Commander, Royal Engineers (Works) erected ten 200′ x 100′ Igloo Storage Sheds for the 13th AAOD (Australian Advanced Ordnance Depot) at Tolga, Atherton Tablelands.
18 Aug 1943
  • RAAF No.13 Aircraft Repair Depot moved to Breddan, near Charters Towers. The function of this large base, which carried over 1200 people, was the overhaul of engines and airframes and motor vehicles.
  • An RAAF stores depot was established at Macrossan, on the eastern side of the Burdekin River, eight miles east of Charters Towers.
19 Aug 1943
  • Convoy of nine ships departed Cairns for Milne Bay, escorted by HMAS KAPUNDA and HMAS PIRIE.
  • RAAF No.13 ARD (Aircraft Repair Depot) move from Tocumwal to Breddan. (until 20 NOV 47).
21 Aug 1943
  • The Labour Party wins the Australian elections.
23 Aug 1943
  • Naval Magazine established at Brookhill, Flinders Highway, outside Townsville.
24 Aug 1943
25 Aug 1943
  • US forces complete the capture of New Georgia in the Pacific.
27 Aug 1943
  • RAAF RDF 36 station moved from Hammond Island to Horn Island.
30 Aug 1943
1 Sep 1943
  • RAAF adopted the American terminology, with RDF (Radio Direction Finding) now to be called “RADAR”, which is an acronym for “Radio Detection and Ranging”).
  • Defence Committee approved the establishment of a chemical warfare field experimental station near Proserpine (Gunyarra siding).
  • The first section of the Holland Park Military Hospital complex is completed. It contained the US Army 5th Station Hospital; 156th Station Hospital; 256th Station Hospital & 42nd General Hospital; No.2 Area 102nd Aust. General Hospital and 2nd Convalescen.
    More information about where this took place.
  • Palm Island US Naval Air Station became operational.
  • Jungara US Army hospital established near Cairns.
  • RAAF 19 Replenishing Centre became operational at Talmoi siding for the storage of mustard gas and other chemical warfare agents.
3 Sep 1943
  • Allies invaded Italy.
4 Sep 1943
  • Allies recaptured Lae-Salamaua, New Guinea.
5 Sep 1943
  • Amphibious landings near Lae and parachute drops in the Markham Valley completed by Australian 7 and 9 Divisions AIF and US 503 Parachute Infantry Regiment.
7 Sep 1943
  • Liberator crash during take-off at Port Moresby kills 59 Australians. It hit five trucks carrying men of the 2/33rd Battalion; 15 were killed instantly, 44 died of their injuries, and 92 were injured but survived.
8 Sep 1943
  • Eisenhower announces the Italian unconditional surrender.
  • USSAF 336 Service Squadron arrived in Townsville to start work on No. 2 Depot of 4 Air Depot Group, Mount Louisa.
9 Sep 1943
  • Mrs. Ellanore Roosevelt, wife of US President. Franklin D. Roosevelt arrived in Brisbane and visited a U.S. Combat Division Camp.
10 Sep 1943
  • RAAF No.80 Squadron formed at Townsville.
11 Sep 1943
  • Australian troops enter Salamaua
12 Sep 1943
  • Ellanore Roosevelt, as head of the American Red Cross (AMCROSS) visited Townsville.
13 Sep 1943
15 Sep 1943
  • The Australian 7th and 9th Divisions capture Lae in New Guinea after very heavy fighting.
  • Magnetic Island Examination Service discontinued.
19 Sep 1943
  • 2/6th Independent Company capture Kaiapit, New Guinea, which was needed for the airstrip and became a base for the 7th Division’s advance up the Markham Valley.
22 Sep 1943
  • Australian Ninth Division troops landed at Scarlet Beach, near Finschhafen, New Guinea.
23 Sep 1943
  • RAAF installed No.211 Radar Station at a site named Charlie’s Hill about, two miles from a railway siding at Iyah, outside Home Hill.
24 Sep 1943
  • RAAF 220 Radar Station established at Bones Knob, Tolga.
  • A fire broke out in a shed at Concrete.Pier, Townsville Harbour, causing damage: to the extent several thousand pounds.
  • General MacArthur visits Townsville.
27 Sep 1943
  • The first of two heavy air raids against Wewak are conducted by the 5th Air Force.
  • Operation ‘JAYWICK’, commando raid by ‘Z’ Special Unit on Singapore Harbour. destroying 40,000 tonnes of Japanese shipping in the harbour. M.V. Krait is the vessel utilised.
  • 2/6th Battalion, 17th Brigade, 6th Division encamp Wondecla, Atherton Tablelands, returned from Wau and Salamaua in New Guinea, and were proceeding on leave from which there were many absentees.
29 Sep 1943
  • RAAF installed *220 Radar Station at Bones Knob, Tolga, Atherton Tablelands.
1 Oct 1943
  • The allies capture Naples, Italy.
  • The Australian Government releases men from the army and munitions industry for reallocation within the Australian war effort.
  • Italian POW’s began growing vegetables for the military under the Home Hill Vegetable Project.
  • Nudgee US Army warehouses constructed.
    More information about where this took place.
  • US Navy Air Wing 17 consisted of five PBY-5A Catalina Patrol Squadrons, VP11, VP33, VP34, VP52 an VP101 established a Repair Base at Challenger Bay (Palm Island).
  • Chemical Warfare Training Area set up to the east of Camp Thompson’s Point was a Chemical Warfare Training Area (Gas) of 659 acres at Broadmount.
    More information about where this took place.
  • 232nd Australian Light Horse Anti-Aircraft Battery, arrived at Stuart rail siding in Townsville.
  • US Army HQ Company Base 2 moved out of the Empire Hotel and tent city in Park, South Townsville, and moved into newly constructed barracks at Cutheringa Park, West End.
  • Fraser Commando School is opened for training on Fraser island.
    More information about where this took place.
2 Oct 1943
  • 9th Division captures Finschhafen which becomes the base for the protracted Huon Peninsula campaign, 1943-44.
3 Oct 1943
  • HMAS AUSTRALIA spent ten days carrying out firing practice, in the Palm Island area, awaiting arrival of other vessels to reform Task Force 74.
4 Oct 1943
  • Elements of 7th Division capture Dumpu, New Guinea.
6 Oct 1943
  • Convoy arrived in Townsville from Melbourne consisting of eight US Liberty Ships.
8 Oct 1943
  • 6th Division hold Divisional Sports and Drills meeting at Wondecla.
9 Oct 1943
  • HMAS KAPUNDA departs Townsville for refit in Melbourne, having escorted MURADA from Port Moresby. (84:69)
10 Oct 1943
11 Oct 1943
19 Oct 1943
  • RAAF installed No.58 Australian ‘low flying’ AW (Air Warning) Radar Station at Mount Spec, Paluma.
22 Oct 1943
  • Construction commenced on a United States Navy 120 bed Hospital at Rowes Bay, Townsville, the site of today’s Bush Children’s Home.
25 Oct 1943
  • The Japanese open the infamous Burma to Siam railway, which was built with forced British, Australian and other Commonwealth POW labour.
28 Oct 1943
  • No.52 AWAS Barracks established at Roseneath, outside Townsville. No.8 AWAS Barracks remained operating at Denham Street and Love Lane Townsville.
30 Oct 1943
  • RAAF 53 Radar Station established at Mount Surprise.
  • RAAF 58 Radar Station established at Paluma.
1 Nov 1943
  • The US 3rd Marine Division lands at Empress Augusta Bay on Bougainville Island in the Solomon’s.
  • Construction of Australian Defence Canteen Services igloo store at Atherton showgrounds. Now Merriland Hall.
  • Chemical Warfare Research and Experimental Station operational at Gunyarra siding, near Proserpine.
  • Completion of Karumba flying boat slipway and workshop hangar.
  • Camp Tabragalba was officially handed over to the US Army.
    More information about where this took place.
3 Nov 1943
  • Heavy USAAF air attacks begin on Rabaul.
4 Nov 1943
  • US Navy Commissioned Officers Club Mess, 7th Fleet Officers Club was formed at New Farm, Brisbane. The site became the Returned Limbless Sailors and Soldiers Association HQ.
    More information about where this took place.
5 Nov 1943
  • RAN acquires ‘Homeleigh’ on the Esplanade in Cairns for accommodation for WRANS.
  • 6th Australian Division held a ceremonial divisional parade at Herberton Racecourse, dressed in Jungle Greens, and viewed by Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Blarney.
11 Nov 1943
  • Landing Ships Infantry, HMAS WESTRALIA and HMAS MANOORA, escorted by HMAS WARREGO and Submarine Chaser USS PC1124 arrived in Cairns.
  • Camp Tabragalba has approximately 38 buildings and is one of the larest camps in Queensland.
    More information about where this took place.
12 Nov 1943
  • Last Japanese air raid on Darwin. This, the 64th raid since February 1942, was the last air raid made on Australia during the war.
  • New WRANS barracks established on the Strand. Townsville, on the Kissing Point side of the swimming pool, and extended to opposite Fryer Street.
13 Nov 1943
  • RAAF 6 Convalescent Depot moved to Paluma from Werribee, Victoria.
15 Nov 1943
  • Construction commenced on what was to be the US 44th General Hospital at Black River (North of Townsville).
17 Nov 1943
  • The 9th Division begins its attack on Sattelberg, a high peak and the key to the Huon Peninsula.
21 Nov 1943
  • Japanese surprise raid at Scarlet Beach, near Lae, Papua New Guinea, was narrowly held by Australian and American defenders.
22 Nov 1943
  • Boom net constructed at Cairns.
23 Nov 1943
  • HMAS WESTRALIA commenced a five day amphibious training exercise with the 19th Australian Infantry Brigade in Trinity Bay.
25 Nov 1943
  • Sattelberg in New Guinea falls to the 9th Australian Division.
26 Nov 1943
  • 2/43rd Battalion repulses strong Japanese attacks on Pabu Hill, New Guinea.
  • Large “igloo” stores shed was under construction by the AWC, in the Atherton Showgrounds for use by the Australian Army Canteen Services as the “Daily Issue Department”.
  • HMAS WAGGA and S.S. WILLIAM S. LADD collide in Cairns, off Smith’s Landing.
27 Nov 1943
  • An artillery competition was, held at the Kairi sports ground between three regiments attached to the Corps Artillery, 2/2nd, 2/7th and 2/8th Australian Field Regiments.
30 Nov 1943
  • The Cabarlah Staff School, north of Toowoomba, utilised by the First Australian Army’s Military Tactics School, Administration (NCO) School, Gas School and Transport School is operational.
    More information about where this took place.
  • Australian Chemical Warfare Research Station at Gunyarra, near Proserpine was planned and by 1945 it formed a large complex of over 50 buildings including laboratories, quarters, stores and workshops.
    More information about where this took place.
4 Dec 1943
  • Archer Point WSS (War Signal Station), near Cooktown closed down.
8 Dec 1943
  • RAAF No.12 RSU moved from Breddan to Kiriwina.
15 Dec 1943
  • US troops land on New Britain near Cape Gloucester, to the South West of Rabaul.
16 Dec 1943
  • RAAF No.34 Operational Base Unit established at Karumba.
20 Dec 1943
  • 2/9th 2/10th Commando Squadrons of the 2/6th Australian Cavalry (Commando) Regiment arrive by rail at Wondecla, Atherton Tablelands, to undertake jungle training with 6th Division’s 16th Brigade.
  • 120 Bed US Naval hospital completed by C Cov 55 Battalion at Rowes Bay, Townsville.
26 Dec 1943
  • Full Allied assault on New Britain as 1st Division Marines invade Cape Gloucester.
27 Dec 1943
  • 7th Division capture ‘The Pimple’, Shaggy Ridge, New Guinea.
  • False Cape PWSS (Port War Signal Station) at Trinity Bay near Cairns, functional except for the Examination Battery 10″ signal projector and associated generator.
30 Dec 1943
  • St Christopher’s Chapel, Nerimbera, south-east of Rockhampton was utilised for non-denominational services. It was set up by the American 542 Engineers, Ship and Shore Battalion.
    More information about where this took place.
  • Action was taken to court martial “certain warrant-officers, NCOs, and soldiers on charges of maltreatment” of prisoners at the 3rd Australian Detention Barracks at the Warwick Detention Camp, Darling Downs.
    More information about where this took place.

1944

1 Jan 1944
  • All areas vacated at Camp Wallaroo and the associated Ordnance Dumps, near the Duaringa State Forest. The 636 Ordnance Company, an African-American unit, The last unit in occupation.
    More information about where this took place.
  • 19th Brigade, 6th Division held a sports meeting at the Herberton Racecourse. (2/8th, 2/11th and 2/4th Battalions).
  • Chemical warfare trials on North Brook Island: aircraft dropped bombs containing liquid mustard gas.
2 Jan 1944
  • US Marines land at Saidor in northern New Guinea.
5 Jan 1944
  • US 44th General Hospital unit arrived in Townsville by train from Cairns, and personnel divided amongst existing hospitals in the area.
8 Jan 1944
  • RAAF installed No.341 Radar Station at Mulgrave Island (known locally as Badu Island), Torres Strait.
15 Jan 1944
  • Capture of Sio by the 9th Australian Division represented the final destruction of the Japanese 20th Division in the protracted Huon Peninsula campaign of 1943-1944.
19 Jan 1944
  • 9th Australian Division’s Sports and Gymkhana were held at Wondecla.
22 Jan 1944
  • The U.S. Fifth Army lands at Anzio, 30 miles South of Rome, Italy.
23 Jan 1944
  • Troops of the Australian 7th Division clear Shaggy Ridge in New Guinea.
31 Jan 1944
  • US forces landed in the Marshall Islands.
  • Within six months, the AWC had supplied the US Army services with hospitals of total bed capacity of 27,500. This included the US Hospitals at Black River, north of Townsville and at Jungara, outside Cairns.
  • US 83 Station Hospital at Woodstock closed.
1 Feb 1944
  • Cape River Meat Works in operation with 2/1 Field Butchering Company.
3 Feb 1944
  • 2/7th Australian Infantry Battalion encamped at Trinity Beach for one week amphibious training.
7 Feb 1944
  • US Army 12th Station Hospital at Townsville, ceased to function, after two years of operation in the same location, with a final hospital register of 23,377.
8 Feb 1944
  • The Australians complete the occupation of the Huon Peninsula in New Guinea.
  • US Army 44th General Hospital began functioning at Black River, north of Townsville, with the 12th Station Hospital attached for duty.
  • US Base Section 5, in Cairns, reverted to the centre of Base Area Command No.2 (previously known as Base Section 2) in Townsville.
10 Feb 1944
  • Australian and Americans troops link at Saidor in New Guinea.
  • The 2/2nd Australian Pioneer Battalion, feared by the Japanese as “Vasey’s Cut-Throats”, arrived at Townsville from Port Moresby on HMAS KANIMBLA.
11 Feb 1944
  • Americans troops at Cassino are relieved by Indian and New Zealand forces. The allies are pushed back to final defence line at Anzio.
  • The Australians take Rooke Island between Huon and New Britain.
13 Feb 1944
  • Advance party of a rail convoy of five trains, carrying the 2/1st Australian Field Regiment, complete with 25 pounder guns and motor transport, arrived at Innisfail from south.
15 Feb 1944
  • A 750 bed prefabricated US hospital was completed on a 38 acre site at Jungara near Redlynch, Cairns.
  • 2/8th Battalion, 19th Brigade, 6th Division AIF underwent further amphibious training at Trinity Beach.
16 Feb 1944
  • RAAF 211 Radar Station established at Charlies Hill, near Home Hill.
  • The personnel train carrying the 2/1st Australian Field Regiment from south, arrived at Redlynch, and at noon began the final stage of their journey, arriving at Ravenshoe.
24 Feb 1944
  • 2/6th Battalion, 17th Brigade, 6th Division departed Wondecla camp by motor transport, for amphibious training at Trinity Beach.
27 Feb 1944
  • About 60,000 Japanese are reported to be trapped in New Britain and New Ireland, in the South West Pacific.
1 Mar 1944
  • Advance party of 2/7th Commando Squadron, of the 2/6th Australian Cavalry (Commando) Regiment, marched into the Wondecla camp.
  • US chemical warfare units began two months of experimental mustard gas bombing on North Brook Island, north Queenland, using Australian volunteers.
    More information about where this took place.
4 Mar 1944
  • Mustard gas trials on Hinchinbrook Island and North Brook Island.
  • The RAAF 210 Radar Station, at Toorbul became operational with a staff of 1 officer and 31 other ranks.
    More information about where this took place.
  • 2/2nd Australian Field Regiment, moved from its Artillery Corps campsite at Kairi to the 6th Division camp at Wondecla. transporting with them, some of their ‘voluntarily built’ Mess buildings.
12 Mar 1944
  • The first of a number of Sunderland Flying boats arrived in Sydney from Britain to serve with the RAAF. They were manned by Australians who served from two to four years abroad, many of them flew with the famous No.10 Squadron.
13 Mar 1944
  • RAN hire dwelling of Mrs Mav Cahill on The Esplanade in Cairns, for accommodation of WRANS.
16 Mar 1944
  • 2/24th Battalion. 26th Brigade. 9th Division encamp at Ravenshoe, Atherton Tablelands, 30 miles from their previous camp at Kairi.
17 Mar 1944
  • 2/6th Battalion, 17th Brigade, 6th Division conducted an invasion exercise, “Exercise Douglas”, at Four Mile Beach, Port Douglas.
21 Mar 1944
  • Command-post staffs and B.0 and F Troops of 2/1st Australian Field Regiment. moved from camp at Ravenshoe, to the Biboohra range, for the first shoot since arriving back in Australia from the Gona-Buna campaign.
24 Mar 1944
  • Australian Army officially took over the new hospital site at Jungara, near Redlynch, outside Cairns, to become the new home for 116 AGH.
25 Mar 1944
  • 6th Division held Gymkhana at Herberton Racecourse.
26 Mar 1944
  • RAAF No.7 Squadron (Beauforts & Ventura) moved from Townsville to Jacky Jacky Airfield.
27 Mar 1944
  • Australian Government launches first Victory Loan aimed at raising £150 million for the war effort.
  • The 2/2nd Australian Pioneer Battalion arrived in Townsville from south by troop trains, and left the same day for the Atherton Tablelands.
28 Mar 1944
  • Cyclone hit Townsville, completely demolishing four of the Platypus Channel beacons (3,4,6 & 7), and devastated the 500 bed Australian 2/14th General (tent) Hospital at Pallarenda.
  • Rail traffic south of Townsville was disrupted due to flood waters over the single line rail bridges at Burdekin and Haughton Rivers.
29 Mar 1944
  • US Chemical Warfare Forces commenced two months of experimental dropping of Mustard Gas bombs to the South of Hinchinbrook Island.
30 Mar 1944
31 Mar 1944
  • The number of patients at the US 84th Station Hospital at Charters Towers had dropped to only five.
  • RAAF No.40 Squadron (Sunderlands) formed at Townsville.
  • A high incidence of dengue fever occurred in the Townsville area during the previous three month period, affecting both civilian and allied military personnel.
9 Apr 1944
  • RAAF No.43 Squadron moved from Karumba to Darwin.
10 Apr 1944
  • The US 84th Station Hospital at Charters Towers closed. Remaining patients transferred to 13th Station Hospital at Aitkenvale. The staff moved to Townsville on 16th April 1944.
  • The 2/2nd Australian Pioneer Battalion moved from its Wongabel camp, to a new campsite at Deadman’s Gully, 15 miles north of Cairns.
15 Apr 1944
  • The 408 patients at US 12th Station Hospital at Chapman Street, (attached to the 44th General Hospital ), were transferred the 14 miles to that almost completed installation at Black River.
  • 2/1st CCS (Casualty Clearance Station) AIF, established at Ravenshoe. Orderlies, Medical Staff and NCOs set up the unit, with AANS Sisters arriving approximately two weeks later.
22 Apr 1944
  • 10.000 American troops landed at Hollandia and Aitape, 164 ships in the invasion fleet having sailed from Finschhafen and elsewhere.
  • Koala Soldiers’ Club, at Kairi, Atherton Tablelands, built by 3rd Division’s 24th Field Company, opened by Lady Blamey.
24 Apr 1944
  • Madang captured by Australian forces.
26 Apr 1944
  • Australians troops occupy Alexishafen in New Guinea.
27 Apr 1944
  • The U.S. Army complete their capture of Hollandia’s airfields and isolate 200,000 Japanese for the duration of war.
29 Apr 1944
  • Australian Prime Minister John Curtin, arrives in London for a conference.
1 May 1944
  • Australian 1 Parachute Battalion encamped at Mareeba airfield.
7 May 1944
  • HMAS PLATYPUS ceased as Base Ship duties in Cairns.
8 May 1944
  • Naval Base is established in Cairns, being Commissioned as HMAS KURANDA. The base stood on the site on which the Port Authority building presently stands.
9 May 1944
  • 116 Australian General Hospital began moving out from Charters Towers by train, for its new site at Jungara, outside Cairns.
  • 2/1st Australian Field Regiment moved from Ravenshoe to a new campsite at Mapee.
10 May 1944
  • 2/13th Battalion and 20th Infantry Battalion arrived at Ravenshoe.
13 May 1944
  • RAAF No.86 Squadron moved from Merauke to Bohle River.
  • B Company, 2/3rd Australian Machine Gun Battalion arrived at Townsville from Merauke. All ranks immediately went on well-earned leave, before rejoining the Battalion at Wondecla.
14 May 1944
  • RAAF No.14 RSU moved to Ross River from Livingstone.
15 May 1944
  • 116 Australian General Hospital move into new constructed hospital site at Jungara, outside Cairns.
  • 2/6th Australian Commando Squadron, (formerly the 2/6th Australian Independent Company) was allocated plot of ground at Kairi/Mapee area.
  • RAAF No.41 Squadron moved from Townsville to Rathmines.
  • 116 Australian General Hospital moved from Charters Towers to Jungara hospital, Cairns.
16 May 1944
  • 23rd, 24th and 62nd Batteries of the 2/12th Australian Field Regiment arrived at Ravenshoe at an old 6th Division campsite.
17 May 1944
  • Malaria Research Unit moved from North Cairns State School to Jungara Hospital.
19 May 1944
  • The ‘Deadman’s Gully’ based Beach Group carried out Amphibious Training combined field exercises, at Palm, Beach (Palm Cove) and Clifton Beach, involving all units of the Beach Group.
22 May 1944
  • 2/7th Field Regiment was allotted to 9th Division and moved from Kairi to Ravenshoe Camp.
23 May 1944
  • Advance party of 5 Australian Camp Hospital departed Cairns for Charters Towers.
24 May 1944
  • US 63 Station Hospital at Gordonvale closed: patients transferred to Black River hospital.
26 May 1944
  • RAAF No.86 Squadron disbanded at Bohle River.
  • RAAF No.84 Squadron disbanded at Horn Island.
30 May 1944
1 Jun 1944
  • RAAF No.8 Stores Depot moves from Townsville to Macrossan.
  • 2/48th Battalion having taken leave on return to Australia from action at Sattelberg, re-grouped, and encamped at Ravenshoe on the Atherton Tablelands.
  • Amphibious landing exercises carried out at Cairns’ Trinity and Clifton Beaches for assaults on Tarakan, Labuan and Balikpapan in Borneo.
3 Jun 1944
  • Last major air combat by RAAF in the Second World War—South of Biak Isand.
4 Jun 1944
  • Allied forces captured Rome, Italy.
5 Jun 1944
  • The first mission by B-29 Superfortress bombers occurs as 77 planes bomb Japanese railway facilities at Bangkok, Thailand.
6 Jun 1944
  • D-Day—Allied Expeditionary Force of British, American, Canadian, Polish, and Free French troops begins Operation Overlord
  • US Army Base 2 Intelligence Section re-located from No.3 Landsborough Street, North Ward to the first floor at Base Headquarters building, on the corner of Walker and Denham Streets, Townsville.
10 Jun 1944
  • Last Japanese aircraft shot down shot down in New Guinea campaign.
15 Jun 1944
  • U.S. Marines invade Saipan in the Mariana Islands.
  • RAAF No.6 CRD (Central Recovery Depot) established at Breddan.
16 Jun 1944
  • The real flying bomb offensive on Britain began as 95 V1s cross the coast before 6am and a total of 244 reaching England that day.
  • 2/1st Australian Field Regiment moved to MacAlister Range to carry out a calibration shoot of every gun. Two days later, three batteries of the Regiment carried out shoots at the Kimalo range.
  • 24th Brigade troops arrived at ‘Deadman’s Gully’ Trinity Beach, Cairns for amphibious training.
18 Jun 1944
  • The US 13th Station Hospital at Aitkenvale was closed. The remaining 127 patients were transferred by ambulance to the only remaining US hospital, 44th General Hospital, Black River.
  • US 13 Station Hospital at Aitkenvale, Townsville, closed: patients transferred to Black River.
19 Jun 1944
  • Battle of the Philippines Sea: Japanese naval and air defeat.
  • Statham House service lane beside McLeod’s Bookshop is designated a crime scene after prostitute Doris May Roberts is murdered by a US serviceman.
    More information about where this took place.
22 Jun 1944
  • RAAF No.84 Squadron moved from Aitkenvale to Macrossan.
23 Jun 1944
  • US 12th Station Hospital personnel staged at Armstrong Paddock, Townsville.
25 Jun 1944
  • The British Second Army begins a major offensive in the area of Caen, France.
  • RAAF No.86 Squadron reformed at Macrossan.
29 Jun 1944
  • RAAF No.6 CRD (Central Recovery Depot) moved from Breddan to Stuart.
1 Jul 1944
  • RAAF No.23 Squadron, moved from Horn Island to Menangle.
  • US Army gradually vacated the Depot at Meeandah, Pinkenba and moved its supply depot to Hollandia in Dutch New Guinea.
    More information about where this took place.
2 Jul 1944
  • RAAF No. 41Squadron (Martin Mariner Transport Seaplanes) moved from Rathmines to Cairns.
3 Jul 1944
  • Prime Minister Curtin returns to Australia after the Commonwealth conference in Britain.
7 Jul 1944
  • HMAS WESTRALIA arrived Townsville. Embarked 70 Officers and 980 men of the Australian Army for Lae.
9 Jul 1944
  • U.S. Marines defeat the Japanese on Saipan.
10 Jul 1944
  • 9th Division marched as a whole, across country, from their camp at Ravenshoe to a bivouac site near the small tablelands town of Mount Garnet.
15 Jul 1944
17 Jul 1944
  • 44th, 54th, and 56th Battalions, 5th Infantry Brigade, having been camped at Kairi disbanded, and were absorbed into 6th and 9th Divisions’ 1st and 2nd Beach Groups.
19 Jul 1944
  • U.S. Marines invade Guam in the Marianas.
23 Jul 1944
  • The U.S. 34th Division takes Pisa, Italy.
  • The Russians take Pskov, 150 miles to the South West of Leningrad on Estonian border. Heavy street fighting is reported from Lublin in Poland.
24 Jul 1944
  • 31st/51st Battalion becomes a unit of the A.I.F
25 Jul 1944
  • The US VII Corps launches ‘Operation Cobra’, the Normandy Breakout.
30 Jul 1944
1 Aug 1944
  • U.S. Marines complete the capture of Tinian Island losing 389 killed for 9,000 Japanese.
  • 2/4th Field Regiment arrived at Kairi at what was an old camp of the Ninth Division.
  • Australian Women’s Land Army involved in vegetable growing at Home Hill and Ayr.
  • The Kenmore Repatriation Hospital is completed and official opened in 1945.
    More information about where this took place.
5 Aug 1944
  • Mass breakout of Japanese prisoners at Cowra prisoner-of-war camp, NSW. 234 were killed and 108 were wounded. Four Australian guards died in the escape attempt.
8 Aug 1944
9 Aug 1944
  • British Mk.XIV mine washed ashore at Cape Tribulation rendered safe.
11 Aug 1944
  • Jack Benny and Larry Adler entertained the USAAFIA Depot 2 at Mount Louisa in one of the repair hangars.
12 Aug 1944
  • RAAF Mobile Parachute Maintenance Unit relocates at Mareeba Aerodrome into a disused hangar.
15 Aug 1944
17 Aug 1944
  • British mine washed ashore at Look Out Point, Cairns. Destroyed by detonation.
23 Aug 1944
  • The 2/2nd Australian Pioneer Battalion moved out of Deadman’s Gully to Trinity Beach, to take part in Exercise “Galah”, in conjunction with the 24th Infantry Brigade.
  • 2/14th Battalion, 21st Brigade, 7th Division, arrived by train at Kairi, on the Barron River, a few miles out from Atherton.
24 Aug 1944
  • General MacArthur established advance headquarters at Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea.
25 Aug 1944
  • Paris, the capital of France was liberated by the Allies.
26 Aug 1944
  • Hitler orders a withdrawal from Greece. Bulgaria, Germany’s ally, withdraws from the war against Russia and declares its neutrality.
28 Aug 1944
  • Allied Works Council work force withdrawn from Iron Range.
30 Aug 1944
  • Townsville Naval Headquarters moved from Australian Camp Hospital into new premises on the northern corner of King Street and Flinders Street East, Townsville.
31 Aug 1944
  • The U.S. Fifth Army crosses the Arno while the Eighth Army attacks the Gothic Line in Italy.
1 Sep 1944
  • US forces captured Morotai Island: it became a staging point for Australian and US landings on Borneo and the Philippines.
  • 2/5th Australian Field Regiment arrived at Kairi, from Warrick. The Regiment was soon engaged in a long series of field exercises and firing practice, often in conjunction with infantry and other arms.
  • 9 Division AIF began amphibious training at Cairns.
  • The United States Navy develops Rest Camps at Coolangatta
    More information about where this took place.
  • 2/24th Battalion troops, 9th Division, commence a fortnights Amphibious Training at Trinity Beach, north of Cairns.
3 Sep 1944
  • The British Second Army liberates Brussels, Belgium.
  • 2/10th Battalion, arrived by train at Cairns, and then travelled by MT convoy to the Redlynch staging camp, before moving to it’s new campsite at Kairi.
8 Sep 1944
  • Major brawl in Cairns between US and Australian troops. All leave cancelled.
10 Sep 1944
  • 2/23rd Battalion, 26th Infantry Brigade made a landing at Trinity Beach in an exercise known as Exercise ‘Parrot’, establishing a close affiliation with the 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion.
11 Sep 1944
  • “Z” Special Unit departed Careering Bay on Garden Island, Western Australia on operation code-named ‘RIMAU’. The mission failed and most of the mission unit were executed.
15 Sep 1944
  • The U.S. First Army reaches the Siegfried Line, Holland.
  • US Marines land on Peleliu Island in the Pacific, but suffer 1,100 casualties trying to establish a shallow beach-head.
17 Sep 1944
  • Operation ‘Market Garden’ began with First Allied Airborne Army drops at Eindhoven, Nijmegen and Arnhem in Holland to secure important bridgeheads.
  • Academy award-winning, Australian cameraman Damien Parer killed while filming American troops on Peleliu in the Pacific. Parer’s documentary, Front line Kokoda, won an Oscar for best documentary in 1943.
19 Sep 1944
  • The Eighth Army occupies the Republic of San Marino, in Italy.
  • 9th Division held it’s grand final in the Australian Rules football competition at Ravenshoe.
24 Sep 1944
  • The British Second Army reaches the Lower Rhine in force.
  • The 2/1st Australian Field Regiment, once again changed Atherton Tablelands campsites from Mapee to Wondecla.
26 Sep 1944
  • In Cairns, the pipeline from R.A.N. distillate fuel installation at Edge Hill, to Wharf and Army Depot at Kenny Street completed.
28 Sep 1944
  • 25th Brigade (2/25th, 2/31st and 2/33rd Battalion paraded on the Royal Artillery Sports Ground at Kairi.
1 Oct 1944
  • The Russian Red Army crosses the Danube into Yugoslavia.
  • 131 Australian HAA Battery withdrawn from Horn Island.
3 Oct 1944
  • 2/14th Bn. underwent a fortnight’s training in amphibious training at Trinity Beach near Cairns.
5 Oct 1944
  • The Canadians enter Holland.
  • All 2/14 Australian General Hospital patients moved from Pallarenda to an site on the Ross River, at Riverside Park.
6 Oct 1944
  • Australian forces relieved Americans on Bougainville.
  • 2/9th Australian Armoured(Tank) Regiment ‘A’ Squadron moved from Wondecla to Ravenshoe, to train with 9th Division Infantry troops.
8 Oct 1944
  • Troopship S.S. KATOOMBA caught fire whilst berthed: No.2 Berth, Townsville Harbour, which was subdued the Harbour Board volunteer firefighters.
9 Oct 1944
  • No.1 Australian Paratroop Battalion held a parade Mareeba Aerodrome’s Fighter Strip. The training of Australian Army parachutists was begun in December 1942.
  • 6 Division AIF moved from Tableland to Cairns in preparation for departure to Aitape, New Guinea.
10 Oct 1944
  • 2/9th Australian Armoured (Tank) Regiment ‘B’ Squadron moved from Wondecla to Kairi, and ‘C’ Squadron moved to Trinity Beach for Amphibious training with 7th Division.
11 Oct 1944
  • Australian troops landed on New Britain.
13 Oct 1944
  • Russian troops capture Riga, the capital of Latvia.
  • The Australian Liberal Party is formed.
14 Oct 1944
  • The British liberate Athens and Piraeus and also land on Corfu.
15 Oct 1944
  • The Coastwatcher functions concluded. Members continued to control guerilla operations against the Japanese and ‘M’ Special Unit, Native Independent Battalion was formed.
  • The 2/6th Australian Cavalry (Commando) Regiment had moved from Wondecla to Townsville, and sailed on S.S. KATOOMBA for Milne Bay.
18 Oct 1944
  • HMAS Geelong was one of four corvettes lost during the Second World War. It collided with an American merchant ship off New Guinea.
19 Oct 1944
  • Hitler orders the total destruction of Warsaw.
20 Oct 1944
  • The Red Army captures Belgrade, while Yugoslav partisans capture Dubrovnik.
  • General MacArthur and 80,000 troops of US 6 Army landed on Leyte, Philippines. Battle of Leyte Gulf began. RAN vessels are involved.
  • The main body of 58th/59th Militia Battalion having re-grouped after leave, began the task of constructing a comfortable camp on the banks of the Barron River, at Mapee on the Atherton Tablelands.
21 Oct 1944
  • HMAS Australia damaged by Kamikaze aircraft in the Philippines.
23 Oct 1944
  • Battle of Leyte Gulf results in a decisive U.S. Naval victory.
  • Training for 2/14th Bn. included Company exercises were held at Danbulla, followed by a “free for all” exercise for all platoons over a five-day course through the Bartle Frere Ranges.
24 Oct 1944
  • 2/6th Australian Commando Squadron moved from Kairi to Trinity Beach, for two weeks amphibious training.
  • 86 Australian former POWS, survivors of the sinking of the Japanese prison ship Rakuyo Maru (on 12 September 1944) were brought from Newstead Wharf No.3 to the Greenslopes Hospital, Brisbane.
    More information about where this took place.
25 Oct 1944
  • The first suicide air (Kamikaze) attacks occur against U.S. warships in Leyte Gulf. Japan sent an estimated 2,257 aircraft by the end of the war.
  • 2/8th Battalion, 19th Brigade, broke its long association with Wondecla camp; by road and train the unit moved to the 6th Australian Division Staging Camp at Redlynch, a few miles from Cairns.
27 Oct 1944
  • 2/6 Australian General Hospital at Rocky Creek closed.
28 Oct 1944
  • The Germans begin to evacuate Albania.
30 Oct 1944
4 Nov 1944
  • Australian forces landed at Jacquinot Bay, New Britain.
5 Nov 1944
  • 2/12th Battalion commenced Amphibious Training at Trinity Beach.
7 Nov 1944
  • 6 Division AIF embarked at Cairns for Aitape and Wewak to relieve US forces.
  • A motor cycle accident at Stratford claimed the lives of two soldiers from the 2/12th Battalion who were returning from leave to the Trinity Beach camp.
8 Nov 1944
  • G for George arrives at Amberley—This Lancaster bomber survived 89 operations with No. 460 Squadron RAAF. “George” is now on display at the Memorial in ANZAC Hall.
9 Nov 1944
  • 2/5th Australian Field Regiment arrived at Biboohra Artillery Range, and fired a barrage to support an “attack” by the 2/16th Battalion. A shell fell on a group of 2/16th Battalion men, killing five and injuring 27 others.
10 Nov 1944
  • The main body of the 2/7th Australian Infantry Battalion, moved from Wondecla to Redlynch, for embarkation.
  • US Base Depot troops left Townsville for Leyte.
  • 18th Brigade amphibious training exercise, code-name ‘Octupus’ commenced at Trinity Beach.
11 Nov 1944
  • Iwo Jima bombarded by the U.S. Navy.
12 Nov 1944
  • 2/10th Battalion returned to Kairi from amphibious training at Trinity Beach, to continue routine training.
14 Nov 1944
  • 2/48th Battalion and 2/7th Field Regiment struck tents at Ravenshoe and moved to Cairns.
15 Nov 1944
  • Australian government approves sending of Australian Women’s Army Service members overseas.
  • RAAF No.84 Squadron moved from Macrossan to Ross River.
17 Nov 1944
  • 2/7th Australian Infantry Battalion, having entrained from Innisfail, embarked at Townsville for Aitape, New Guinea.
18 Nov 1944
  • The U.S. Third Army crosses the German frontier.
  • 2/6th Battalion, 17th Brigade, 6th Division Left Wondecla for Redlynch, where final preparations were made for movement to New Guinea.
24 Nov 1944
  • USAAF B29s from Saipan Island in Pacific, bombed Tokyo for first time.
25 Nov 1944
  • The last Japanese resistance in Peleliu ends. 14,000 Japanese are killed or captured for 9,300 U.S. casualties.
1 Dec 1944
  • 2/6th Battalion embarked on the US Transport THOMAS CORWIN at Cairns, destination Aitape.
  • Iron Range airfield placed on care and maintenance.
3 Dec 1944
  • 2/2nd Australian Field Regiment moved from the 6th Division area at Wondecla, down to Cairns, to embark on the US Army Transport EVANGELINE, bound for Aitape, New Guinea.
9 Dec 1944
  • 2/2nd Battalion, 16th Brigade, moved out from Wondecla camp for Redlynch Staging camp, where they remained for nine days, due to shipping shortages.
10 Dec 1944
  • 2/1st Battalion embarked at Cairns on M.V. VAN HEUTSZ, bound for Aitape, New Guinea.
12 Dec 1944
14 Dec 1944
  • RAAF No.5 Squadron moved from Mareeba to Bougainville.
15 Dec 1944
  • Australian troops landed at Bougainville to relieve US forces.
  • 31st/51st Infantry Battalion (AIF), having trained at Strathpine in southern Queensland, disembarked at Torokina, Bougainville.
    More information about where this took place.
  • Horn Island airfield placed on care and maintenance.
18 Dec 1944
  • Arty Hill, Bougainville captured by the Queensland 9th Battalion, and was a major Japanese position on the Numa Numa Trail leading across Bougainville.
19 Dec 1944
20 Dec 1944
  • 58th/59th Militia Battalion moved by rail in three drafts from Tolga to Redlynch Staging camp near Cairns, thence on 22DEC44 to Julago Staging camp near Townsville.
21 Dec 1944
  • 16th Brigade troops embarked on the Dutch ship BONTEKOE at Cairns, for Aitape, New Guinea.
25 Dec 1944
  • The last Japanese port on Leyte is captured and General MacArthur proclaims that Leyte, in the Phillipines is secure.
28 Dec 1944
  • U.S. troops gain ground against the Ardennes salient.
30 Dec 1944
  • The Germans launch a heavy attack on the Bastogne corridor in the Ardennes.
  • Australians of the 25th Battalion occupy Pearl Ridge, Bougainville.

1945

1 Jan 1945
  • RAAF No.86 Squadron moved from Macrossan to Bohle River.
  • RAAF ASR (Air Sea Rescue) Flight No. 113 formed in Cairns.
  • Chermside Army Camp ‘I Block’ is designated the Civil Construction Corps camp.
    More information about where this took place.
  • 9th Australian Division’s Sports and Gymkhana were held at Wondecla.
3 Jan 1945
  • General MacArthur is placed in command of all U.S. ground forces and Admiral Chester Nimitz in command of all naval forces in preparation for planned assaults against Iwo Jima, Okinawa and Japan.
4 Jan 1945
  • 2/1st Australian Field Regiment sailed from Cairns on US Liberty Ship LINDLEY M. GARRISON headed for Aitape, New Guinea.
5 Jan 1945
  • HMAS Australia repeatedly hit by Japanese suicide aircraft in Lingayen Gulf, Philippines.
9 Jan 1945
  • 80.000 US troops land at Lingaven, Philippines. The 955 ships in the invasion fleet sailed from Bougainville, Noumea and elsewhere.
14 Jan 1945
  • Cairns naval base HMAS Kuranda decommissioned.
26 Jan 1945
  • Beginning of Sandakan death march, Borneo.
1 Feb 1945
  • Mustard gas trials at Mission Beach, near Innisfail.
5 Feb 1945
  • Australian troops land on the Japanese stronghold of New Britain, East of New Guinea.
7 Feb 1945
  • 2/2nd Australian Pioneer Battalion moved from its Deadman’s Gully campsite, to Wondecla.
13 Feb 1945
  • Governor General, H.R.H. the Duke of Gloucester commences a visit to the Atherton Tablelands, with an inspection of the 2/4th Field Regiment at the 7th Division Camp at Kairi.
15 Feb 1945
  • Duke of Gloucester visited Archerfield Areodrome.
    More information about where this took place.
  • Governor General, H.R.H. the Duke of Gloucester inspected a guard of No.1 Parachute Battalion at Mareeba aerodrome. and the following day inspected the 9th Division Guard of Honour at Ravenshoe.
17 Feb 1945
  • U.S. troops capture the whole of the Bataan Peninsula, which commands Manila Bay in Philippines.
19 Feb 1945
  • After a heavy bombardment, 30,000 US Marines land on Iwo Jima, but suffer 2,420 casualties on the first day.
25 Feb 1945
  • Excavation work was commenced at the Allied Works Council Nudgee Quarry and Royal Navy Borrow Pit. The materials taken from the pits were used in preparation of other military sites.
    More information about where this took place.
28 Feb 1945
  • US Naval base at Cairns decommissioned.
  • Brisbane City Hall hosted an ‘Exhibition of Civil Construction in Australia’ art display featuring works by painters William Dobell, Herbert McClintock and others plus 500 photographs. The display was sponsored by the Allied Works Council and featured Aus.
    More information about where this took place.
3 Mar 1945
  • US forces captured Manilla, Philipines.
5 Mar 1945
  • Major-General George Vasey killed in RAAF aircraft crash off Machans Beach, Cairns.
6 Mar 1945
  • The U.S. Third Army reaches the Rhine Northwest of Koblenz, as Cologne falls to U.S. First Army.
9 Mar 1945
  • USAAF begins the firebombing of Japan’s major cities.
  • 2/2nd Australian Pioneer Battalion commenced moving out from its Wondecla campsite, to the 16th Australian Personnel Staging Camp at Redlynch.
15 Mar 1945
  • The site of Camp Bulimba and the Apollo Barge Assembly Depot at Bulimba on the south banks of the Brisbane River is acquired by the Commonwealth Government. It remains a Naval site today.
    More information about where this took place.
16 Mar 1945
  • Australian troops left Cairns for Morotai, for assault on Borneo.
  • 2/2nd Australian Pioneer Battalion embarked on US Transport Ship SEA BARB at Cairns. The ship spent two days in Trinity Bay, riding out a storm, before heading for Morotai.
21 Mar 1945
  • US Army vacated the ordnance depot at Geebung. With Brisbane designated as a forward supply base for the new British Pacific Fleet, the Royal Navy took control of the Depot and remained until 20 August 1948.
    More information about where this took place.
23 Mar 1945
  • Waitavolo and Tol plantations captured by Australians, New Britain—In 1942 the Tol plantation was the scene of the massacre of some 150 Australians as they attempted to flee Rabaul.
24 Mar 1945
  • Montgomery’s 21st Army Group attacks across the Rhine after 3,500-gun barrage. 16,870 paratroops land across the river Rhine in Operation ‘Plunder’.
30 Mar 1945
  • Russians troops finally capture Danzig, Germany along with 45 U-boats and 10,000 prisoners.
  • 2/7th Field Regiment moved out from Ravenshoe travelled by motor transport to Innisfail and entraining for Julago staging camp, south of Townsville.
  • Australian Army Leave and Transit Depot, Tonks Paddock, Moorook, Brisbane.
    More information about where this took place.
31 Mar 1945
  • 9 Division AIF left Ravenshoe for Cairns to embark for Tarakan Island, Borneo.
1 Apr 1945
  • The amphibious landing occurs as the U.S. Tenth Army invades Okinawa, Southern Japan.
  • Cairns waterside workers went on strike, demanding danger money. They were replaced by troops of 6 Division AIF.
3 Apr 1945
  • General MacArthur is appointed as Commander-in-Cheif of Land Forces in the Pacific.
8 Apr 1945
  • 2/24 Battalion, and the 2/7th Field Regiment embark on US Troopship, GENERAL H.M. BUTTNER, at Townsville bound for Morotai.
9 Apr 1945
  • 2/28th Battalion, began moving out from their Ravenshoe camp, for embarkation at Townsville for Moratai.
12 Apr 1945
  • US President Roosevelt dies, aged 63. Harry Truman is sworn in as 32nd President of the United States.
  • HQ, 2/2nd Australian Machine Gun Battalion boarded US Army Transport, SEA BARB in Cairns Harbour.
15 Apr 1945
  • 2/1st CCS, (Casualty Clearance Station), departed its Ravenshoe campsite.
16 Apr 1945
  • Soviet assault on Berlin began.
18 Apr 1945
  • ‘C’ Company, 2/2nd Australian Machine Gun Battalion and the main body of the 2/12th Australian Field Regiment departed Ravenshoe for Julago Staging Camp outside Townsville.
25 Apr 1945
  • Russian and U.S. troops meet at Torgau on Elbe, 60 miles West of Berlin.
  • 1 Australian Camp Hospital at Thursday Island closed.
27 Apr 1945
  • The U.S. Fifth Army enters Genoa, Italy.
30 Apr 1945
  • Hitler commits suicide with Eva Braun. The U.S. Third Army liberates 110,000 POWs, Northeast of Munich. The British Second Army liberates 20,000 prisoners in northern Germany.
1 May 1945
  • The cessation of hostilities and surrender of all German forces in Italy is announced.
  • The Australians land on Tarakan Island off Borneo.
  • 19.000 troops of the 2nd AIF including 26th Brigade, Ninth Division landed at Tarakan. Borneo. The 151 ships of the invasion fleet having sailed from Morotai.
3 May 1945
4 May 1945
  • Kamikaze flyers sink 17 U.S. ships in 24 hours off Okinawa.
8 May 1945
  • Victory in Europe (VE) Day.
11 May 1945
  • 6 Division AIF captured Wewak, formerly the largest Japanese air base in New Guinea.
20 May 1945
  • Japanese begin withdrawal from China.
25 May 1945
  • U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff approve Operation Olympic, the invasion of Japan, scheduled for November 1.
  • The main body of the 2/4th Field Regiment moved out of its Kairi camp, by truck to Innisfail, to entrain to Townsville.
28 May 1945
  • 2/12th Battalion embarked at Townsville, on Liberty Ship PONTUS H. ROSS, bound for Moratai.
  • The main body of the 2/14th Bn. moved from Kairi, via Innisfail to the 19th Australian Army Personnel Staging Camp at Julago, near Townsville, ready for yet another embarkation.
29 May 1945
  • 2/10th Battalion was transported from it’s Kairi camp to Tolga, where it entrained for Redlynch staging camp for an overnight stay.
30 May 1945
  • 2/10th Battalion embarked on LSTs at Cairns, anchoring out overnight, and the convoy proceeding to sea the following day.
3 Jun 1945
  • US Troopship GENERAL ANDERSON, sailed from Townsville for Morotai, with 7th Division’s 2/14th and 2/27th Battalions, and the 2/4th and the 2/5th Field Regiments embarked.
6 Jun 1945
  • Naha airbase on Okinawa is now being used to hit Japan.
  • US Air Force B-29 Superfortress bomber flew low over Townsville.
7 Jun 1945
  • The first allied cargo ship for three years enters Wewak harbour, in New Guinea.
10 Jun 1945
  • 31,294 2nd AIF troops of the Australian Ninth Division, 20th & 24th Brigades landed at Brunei Bay, Labuan. Borneo.
11 Jun 1945
  • Troops of 31/51 Far North Queensland Regiment suffered heavy casualties in fighting at Porton plantation, Bougainville.
13 Jun 1945
  • Australians capture Brunei.
20 Jun 1945
  • Australians troops land at Lutong on Sarawak and gain 25 miles to the Seria oilfields.
  • US Army Unit Base 2, APO922, Townsville ceased to function and reverted to U.S. Army Representative.
  • US Army Base Section 2 Townsville closed down. Remaining personnel transferred to Philippines.
21 Jun 1945
  • Organised resistance on Okinawa ends after 82 days of the bloodiest fighting in the Pacific, during which 98,654 Japanese have been killed and 6,922 captured. U.S. loses were 6,990 killed and 29,598 wounded.
26 Jun 1945
  • United Nations Charter signed at San Francisco.
28 Jun 1945
  • MacArthur’s headquarters announces the end of all Japanese resistance in the Philippines.
1 Jul 1945
  • 7th Division landed at Balikpapan, Borneo, the largest and final Australian amphibious landing of the Second World War, after a 15-day bombardment.
2 Jul 1945
  • Brisbane City Council demanded that the Commonwealth cover the cost of the local road repairs.
5 Jul 1945
  • Australia’s Prime Minister, John Joseph Curtin died. Frank Forde was appointed caretaker Prime Minister. Ingham born Frank Forde was Australia’s shortest serving Prime Minister.
12 Jul 1945
  • Joseph Benedict Chifley was chosen by the Labour Party as the successor to John Curtin, as Prime Minister of Australia.
14 Jul 1945
  • The first U.S. Naval bombardment of Japanese home islands.
15 Jul 1945
  • The Australians take Prince Alexander Range in Borneo after an eight-week struggle.
18 Jul 1945
26 Jul 1945
  • Clement Attlee is elected as Prime Minister of Great Britain.
1 Aug 1945
6 Aug 1945
  • U.S. B-29 “Enola Gay” drops a 3 metre long atomic bomb “Little Boy” on Hiroshima, Japan, killing an estimated 140,000 people in the first use of a nuclear weapon in warfare.
7 Aug 1945
8 Aug 1945
  • U.S.S.R. declares war on Japan then invades Manchuria.
  • Holy Spirit Convent and Rest Centre established as a retreat for the 38 Holy Spirit nuns who had survived two years of imprisonment in New Guinea by the Japanese forces.
    More information about where this took place.
9 Aug 1945
  • U.S. B-29 “Bocks Car” drops atomic bomb “Fat Man” on Nagasaki, Japan. 113,000 people die.
  • Emperor Hirohito and Japanese Prime Minister Suzuki decide to seek an immediate peace with the Allies.
  • HRH The Governor General, The Duke of Gloucester commenced three day visit to Townsville.
12 Aug 1945
  • 2/14 Australian General Hospital at Love Lane, Townsville, closed down, and handed over to RAAF 3 MRS (Medical Receiving Station).
  • Townsville Harbour Board took over the Naval Workshop on the western breakwater as their mechanical workshop.
14 Aug 1945
  • Japanese accept unconditional surrender; General MacArthur is appointed to head the occupation forces in Japan.
15 Aug 1945
17 Aug 1945
  • Indonesia (Dutch East Indies) declares independence.
27 Aug 1945
  • B-29s dropped supplies to Allied POWs in China.
28 Aug 1945
  • Ships of the Royal Australian Navy joined Royal Navy and United States Navy ships in Tokyo Bay to receive the main Japanese surrender on 2 September.
29 Aug 1945
  • U.S. Marines and troops of 11th Airborne Division land in Tokyo Bay to begin the occupation of Japan.
30 Aug 1945
  • A Royal Naval force takes Hong Kong as marines clash with Japanese suicide detachments.
  • All Heavey Anti-aircraft batteries in Brisbane are disbanded, including the 6 (385th) Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery at Fort Lytton. The site is now the Caltex Oil Refinery.
    More information about where this took place.
  • The 6-387th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery, located on a hill overlooking the Bulimba/Balmoral Cemetery, Morningside was disbanded, along with all other HAA Units in Queensland.
    More information about where this took place.
1 Sep 1945
2 Sep 1945
  • The formal Japanese surrender takes place aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
  • The Greenslopes Red Cross Hall and Hostel continued to support returned service men and women after the war’s end.
    More information about where this took place.
12 Sep 1945
  • Lord Mountbatten accepts the surrender of all Japanese troops in Southeast Asia.
27 Sep 1945
  • RAAF No.41 Squadron disbanded at Cairns.
30 Sep 1945
1 Oct 1945
10 Oct 1945
  • RAAF 28 Radar Station on Fitzroy Island, disbanded.
17 Oct 1945
  • The largest US Army vehicle storage and repair facility established in Australia during the World War 2, the Banyo US Army General, Transport and Stores Depot was transferred to the Australian Army.
    More information about where this took place.
18 Oct 1945
  • Disposal by burning of chemical warfare stocks at 1 Field Experimental Station, Gunyarra.
19 Oct 1945
  • War Widow’s Guild of Australia founded—The guild’s first president was Mrs Jessie Vasey, widow of Major General G.A. Vasey, who was was killed in an aircraft accident near Cairns while returning to operational service.
24 Oct 1945
  • The United Nations formally comes into being with twenty-nine ratifications having been received.
30 Oct 1945
  • RAAF No.1 Mobile Paratroop Maintenance Unit at Mareeba disbanded.
1 Nov 1945
  • Australia ratifies United Nations Charter, playing a leading role in the formation of the United Nations.
22 Nov 1945
  • First of many disposal auctions advertised: sale and removal of buildings from former US camp at Armstrong’s Paddock, Townsville.
25 Nov 1945
26 Nov 1945
30 Nov 1945
12 Dec 1945
  • Disposal by burning of chemical warfare stocks at RAAF 19 Replenishing Centre, Talmoi.
20 Dec 1945
  • RAAF No.86 Squadron disbanded at Bohle River.
24 Dec 1945
30 Dec 1945

1946

12 Jan 1946
18 Jan 1946
  • The US Navy Audio Visual Aids Training facility was located in New Farm. After the war it was used by the Royal Navy and closed down in 1946. The location is now home to Cutters Landing Residential Apartments.
    More information about where this took place.
29 Jan 1946
  • RAAF No.84 Squadron disbanded at Ross River.
13 Feb 1946
  • Main Australian contingent of British Commonwealth Occupation Force sailed for Japan from Morotai. They were allotted the devastated Hiroshima Prefecture on the island of Honshu.
15 Feb 1946
  • RAAF No.11 Catalina Squadron disbanded.
19 Feb 1946
27 Mar 1946
  • RAAF No.20 Catalina Squadron disbanded.
1 Apr 1946
25 Apr 1946
  • The Australian Camp Hospital on Thursday Island ceased to function and was handed back to civilian authorities.
30 Apr 1946
  • RAAF No.27 OBU disbanded at Iron Range.
26 Jul 1946
  • HMAS MAGNETIC de-commissioned.
Last updated
30 June 2014