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Due to its closeness to the jungle training areas on the Atherton Tablelands in tropical north Queensland, the Australian Army established the largest military hospital area to be built in North Queensland during WWII near the Rocky Creek rail siding which was located between the towns of Atherton and Mareeba. The Rocky Creek area was chosen to locate general hospitals, convalescent depots, field ambulance units, medical stores, Red Cross Supply stores, bacteria laboratories, laundries, etc. The following are some of the medical units based in the Rocky Creek area during WWII:-

19th Field Ambulance
5th Australian Camp Hospital (200 beds)
2/2nd Australian General Hospital (1200 - 1800 beds)
2/6th Australian General Hospital (1200 - 1800 beds)
2/1st Australian Convalescent Depot (1200 beds)
1st Australian Camp Hospital
4th Ambulance Train
47th Australian Camp Hospital
Australian Red Cross Society

Work on the hospital site began in October 1942 with the arrival of 5th Australian Camp Hospital which established a small camp hospital area. They were joined by the patients of 1st Australian Camp Hospital from Wondecla.

During January 1943 the 2/2nd Australian General Hospital was relocated to Rocky Creek from Watten Siding in western Queensland. They replaced the 5th Australian Camp Hospital. The small tent hospital quickly grew into a very large 1200 bed general hospital. As mentioned above, the 2/2nd Australian General Hospital was joined by the 2/6th Australian General Hospital in April 1943.

In May 1945 the 2/6th AGH absorbed the 2nd Hospital Laundry Unit and in June they moved to a staging area at Morotai in the Netherlands East Indies.

The Rocky Creek hospital area on the Atherton Tablelands finally closed in September 1945.


Photo:- Peter Dunn

Foundation of a building at Rocky Creek


Rocky Creek area at bottom left of the aerial photo taken 1 July 1943 


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Close-up of the abovementioned area


Today there is a magnificent monument located at Rocky Creek adjacent to the road between Mareeba and Atherton.  It consists of over 50 large rocks upon which are mounted plaques dedicated to the men and women who served in the area and many other units that served in the South West Pacific Area and other theatres of war. See the photographs below which I took in September 2001. It would appear that more plaques will be erected as time goes by. 


Photo:- Peter Dunn

Some of the many monuments at Rocky Creek


Photo:- Darryn Love Dec 2022

Sign telling the story of Australia's biggest hospital during WWII


Photo:- Darryn Love Dec 2022

Plan displaying the layout of the camp areas for the
132nd General Transport, 2/2nd AGH and 2/6th AGH


Photo:- Darryn Love Dec 2022

Information sign at Rocky Creek


Photos:- Peter Dunn

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"WWII NQ - A cultural heritage overview of significant places in the defence of North Queensland during World War II"
by Howard Pearce, Environmental Protection Agency, Brisbane, January 2009

"The Unit Guide - The Australian Army 1939 - 1945 - Volume 4 of 6 - Medical and Signals Units"
by Graham R. McKenzie-Smith

"Remembering Rocky Creek WWII"
Malanda, Eacham Historical Society Inc. 2003



I'd like to thank Darryn Love and Graham McKenzie-Smith for their assistance with this web page.

I'd like to thank David Adams for providing the above aerial photographs.


Can anyone help me with more information?


"Australia @ War" WWII Research Products

I need your help


 Peter Dunn 2015


Please e-mail me
any information or photographs

"Australia @ War"
8GB USB Memory Stick

This page first produced 18 September 2001

This page last updated 30 December 2022