CAMP MOOROOKA
USASOS STAGING CAMP
MOOROOKA, BRISBANE, QLD
DURING WW2

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visits since 8 February 2003

 

A large American staging camp was set up during WW2 between Mayfield Road and Bracken Street at Moorooka, near the tram terminus at Moorooka. The Camp area was fenced off from the surrounding properties. 

The Masterson family's home, known as "Spencer Park", which was situated at the crest of Bracken Street was taken over by the Americans. It was later demolished. Its doors and window frames were made from red cedar. "Spencer Park" had been built in 1890 for John Elliot a commission agent. It had two more owners before the Masterson family bought it.

"Greenloaning", Paine's Bakery and Tonk's home were also commandeered by the Americans.

US Soldiers carried out drill practice on the dusty roads of the Mayfield Estate. The soldiers from the camp would often "invade" the nearby Grey's Cafe which remained open 24 hours a day. There were many road accidents in the area involving military vehicles.

Site B above was Camp Moorooka, a USASOS Staging Camp.

Site A above was the Rocklea Munitions Hostel used to house workers for the
Rocklea Munitions Factory which was located off Compo Road (now Evans Road).

The Commonwealth Marine Engine Works can be seen on the corner of Evans Road (then called Compo Road) and Beaudesert Road at Rocklea in the above photograph. This site is now occupied by Alstom Australia.

 

Close-up of Camp Moorooka

The nearby Moorooka State School was occupied by the Americans for 3 months. 

The American were well entertained in their Recreation Hall by many well known entertainers including Artie Shaw and Janet Gaynor. After the war, the Recreation Hall was purchased by Mr. Hughes, a movie theatre owner at Annerley. Mr. Hughes relocated the large Recreation hall to Moorvale on the corner of Mayfield Road and Beaudesert Road. The concrete slabs that were left behind were used for roller skating. The locals though that they may be getting their first movie theatre in Moorooka, but this was not to be. The shed was rented for various purposes over over several years before it the Hughes Shopping Centre was built on the site.

Photo from Ken Osterberg of the 832nd Signal Service Company, USASOS
of a camp which he believes may have been Camp Moorooka

A Defence Tram Ticket used by Ken Osterberg of
the 832nd Signal Service Company, USASOS
to travel into the city from Camp Moorooka

Ken Osterberg remembers that the tram line ended just a short distance outside the camp and that was how he got to and from the GHQ, SWPA in the AMP building each day.

In May 1944, the Military Telephone Directory for Brisbane shows the following entries for Moorooka Camp:-

MOOROOKA CAMP:

3rd CAMP HEADQUARTERS & CAMP COMPANY
    Commanding Officer:
        Capt. Proctor, C.M.
    Adjutant:
        Capt. Braidwood, G.C.
    Sergeant Major:
    Quartermaster:
        Lt. Simmons, T.W.
    Dental Clinic:
        Capt. Schindler, B.M.
SHIP & GUN CREW COMMAND NO. 1
   
Commanding Officer:
        Col. Neilson, C.G.
    Executive Officer:
        Lt. Col. Weeks, H.M.
    Plans & Training:
        Major Bancroft, H.K.
    Adjutant:
        Lt. Dobson, H.E.
    Personnel Officer:
        Lt. Bartell, F.A.
    Chief Clerk:
    Supply:
        Capt. Hahn, Jr., F.C.
    Surgeon:
        Capt. Ory, L.K.

After the war, the military huts on the Tonk's property were used as temporary accommodation for families awaiting homes.

 

REFERENCE BOOKS

"Moorooka State School Jubilee 1929 - 1979, a History of the District and the School"

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Ken Osterberg for his assistance with this home page. I'd also like to thank Russell Miller and Dave Spethman for their assistance with this home page.

 

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Copyright

 Peter Dunn 2004

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This page first produced 8 February 2003

This page last updated 10 April 2005