The Department of Civil Aviation flying Boat Base at Pinkenba was moved to Hamilton in 1940 and was constructed on the training wall downstream from the Brisbane Stevedoring and Wool Dumping Company (B.S. & W.D. Co.) Wharves.

After the Battle of the Coral Sea in early May 1942, Frank Chapman in Catalina A24-17 moved his Catalina to Brisbane where he moored at the Department of Civil Aviation Flying Boat moorings at Hamilton on 16 May 1942. The landing and take off area in the Brisbane River was about 2.5 kms long. This was the start of the RAAF occupation of the DCA Flying Boat Base at Hamilton. The RAAF Flying Boat Base Hamilton was controlled by No. 5 Transport and Movements Office RAAF.

The RAAF Flying Boat Base Hamilton was located directly across the river from today's Colmslie Recreation Reserve which was the former site of the US Navy's Naval Air Station Brisbane.

Frank Chapman leased a large house called "Werna" at 54 Langside Road at Hamilton and hired Mrs. Elliot and her daughter Marj to manage the house to provide accommodation and food for the various Catalina Crews that operated from the Hamilton Flying Boat Base. The house was known as the Flying Boat Crew Mess and became known as "Catalina House". The Australian Army also used the house on occasions for accommodation, however Mrs. Elliot made sure that the Catalina crews had first priority by telling the Army that the owners were arriving. The house was handed back to the owners on 15 February 1946. The house was owned by the Irving family in 1932 and the Kennedy family in 1948. RAAF Flying Boat crews requiring accommodation and food after it was handed back to the owners were taken to the RAAF Transient Camp in the Rocklea Showgrounds.

The property was extend to the east by 90 feet to accommodate the RAAF. The DCA leveled the extra area required by the RAAF. A new pontoon and six mooring buoys were installed by the RAAF. Civilian Flying Boats also used the facilities at the RAAF Flying Boat Base Hamilton during WWII.

The Department of Air received advice on 6 March 1946 that the RAAF were vacating the Hamilton Flying Boat Base. Details of assets on site were forwarded on 27 June 1946 to arrange disposal of the assets which included:-

The pontoon used at the Flying Boast Base was actually an unpowered barge RAAF Serial No. 019-12. The pontoon was moved across the Brisbane River to Bulimba and was later transferred to the RAN. The Navy also took over the 10 metre long gangway which was transferred to Colmslie.


"Catalina Squadrons - First and Furthest"
By Jack Riddell



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This page first produced 26 November 2016

This page last updated 13 January 2020