ON MOUNT COOT-THA, BRISBANE, QLD
There were a number of search light units located on top of Mount Coot-tha during WWII. One of the searchlights was located where the tourist lookout is located today on top of Mount Coot-tha.
The 94th Coast Artillery (AA) Regiment of the 40th Anti-aircraft Brigade, US Army had one of their 30 searchlight stations on Mount Coot-that for a short while (about March to May 1942) in early 1942.
The well known Brisbane football radio announcer, George Burnett Lovejoy (Q135813), was part of an Australian Army searchlight unit on top of Mount Coot-tha. He said that he used to live in one of the "chalets" which formed part of today's tourist complex on top of Mount Coot-tha. It is with regret that I advise that George Lovejoy, passed away today, Wednesday 5 February 2003.
The late Douglas Malcolm Campbell (QX45282), a former QC of the Queensland Supreme Court, graduated from the School of Military Engineering in Sydney as a Lieutenant. He then took charge of a searchlight site on Mount Coot-tha during WWII with the 56 Anti-aircraft Searchlight Company. One day Lt. Campbell received a message from the guard at the bottom of Mount Coot-that one day that General Douglas MacArthur was on his way to the top of the hill. It turned out that General MacArthur was taking his wife Jean and son Arthur to the small Zoo at the top of the hill. Lt. Campbell arranged for one of the Banks girls to take Arthur MacArthur down to the animals whilst the General and his wife had a cup of tea in the Kiosk with Lt Campbell and Mrs. Bank who ran the Zoo. Lt Campbell met Jean and Arthur Macarthur on a number of other occasions during more visits to the zoo.
120 Anti-aircraft Searchlight Section of the 56 Anti-aircraft Searchlight Company was located on Mount Coot-that during WWII. 120 Anti-aircraft Searchlight Section also had a group at Kedron in Brisbane. In May 1943, searchlights transferred from RAE to RAA and 56 Anti-aircraft Searchlight Company became 56 Anti-aircraft Searchlight Battery.
In September 1943, a reorganisation of searchlight units saw 56 AASL Battery become 56 Searchlight Battery (Mixed) with 102 Heavy Searchlight Troop at Mount Coot-tha and Gold Creek. 101 Heavy Searchlight Troop then took over the sites at Mount Coot-tha.
Contrary to persistent rumours there were
no anti-aircraft guns located on Mount Coot-tha
US Naval Magazine and Mine Assembly Depot
on Mount Coot-tha during WWII
Obituary for Douglas Campbell (26
Feb 1917 - 12 Jul 2003)
The Courier Mail, 5 August 2003
"The Unit Guide - The Australian Army 1939 - 1945 - Volume 3 of 6, Artillery, Air Defence and Engineering Units" by Graham McKenzie-Smith
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"Australia @ War" WWII Research Products
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 5 February 2003
This page last updated 16 January 2021