Brigadier John Field was urgently returned from the Middle East in early 1942 to take charge of the 7th Militia Brigade to prepare them to defend north Queensland against a possible Japanese invasion. The 7th Militia Brigade comprised the 9th Infantry Battalion, the 25th Infantry Battalion and the 61st Infantry Battalion


Photo:- Kim Lundie 2011

50th Anniversary of the end of World War II sign
commemorating the 25th Australian Infantry Battalion


Photo:- Kim Lundie 2011

The plaques reads as follows:-

"25th Aust. Inf. Bn.
entrained Spring Bluff
0200 hrs 17th March 1942
Enroute Milne Bay New Guinea
World War 2
C.O. Lt. Col. F.S. Miles D.S.O.
Plaque unveiled 30th Sept. 1989
Capt. J.E. Duggan


Brigadier Field chose Rollingstone just 50kms north of Townsville as the most likely spot for the defence against a Japanese landing.  The 7th Militia Brigade moved to Rollingstone on 15 May 1942 and dug in their defensive positions along the coast at Rollingstone.  They also prepared a number of fallback defensive lines in case they had to retreat towards Townsville.  If this were to eventuate, they would be supported by the 11th Brigade and the 29th Brigade.  Infantry training was only held two days per week with the rest of the time being devoted to digging in their defensive positions.

While they were in their defensive positions the Japanese made a number of air raids on Townsville.

Brigadier Field noted the following in his diary:-

"One problem at Rollingstone was the sugar farmers. We had to clear fields of fire in the cane and clear scrub. There were always protests, sugar inspectors, inflated claims for so much timber destroyed - this at the time of the Coral Sea Battle."

"We'd just begun the training programme when we were ordered to Milne Bay."

An advanced party of the 7th Militia Brigade (9th Battalion, the 25th Battalion and the 61st Battalion) under the command of Brigadier J. Field, moved to Milne Bay on 11 July 1942.

The 61st Battalion, the Queensland Cameron Highlanders, moved to Milne Bay from Townsville on the Dutch ship Swartenhondt in early August 1942.

The Defence of Townsville 



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This page first produced 13 July 1998

This page last updated 14 January 2017