During WWII, both the USAAF and RAAF had Bomb Dumps on the Townsville Town Common not far from Garbutt Airfield. Two dirt roads, one from each of two runways ran upwards towards another road running roughly left to right as shown on the aerial photos below. The USAAF and RAAF Bomb Dumps were laid out on either side of this latter dirt road, with USAAF on one side and RAAF on the other side.

The Queensland Main Roads Commission built between 20 and 30 miles of access roads and areas were paved for large bomb storage areas on the Townsville Town Common. They also constructed flat gravelled areas for storage of munitions and other supplies.

The State Defence Camouflage Committee Queensland, (Townsville Section) reported for the period 16 - 22 April 1942:-

"Four men with necessary garnished netting were sent to the U.S. bomb dump on the northern side of aerodrome, to cover stacks of yellow bombs. After completing one or two stacks, it was found unsuitable as the handling of bombs was delayed. Hessian covers were then made of required length and width with eyelets and cords and painted and it is felt that these will be more satisfactory and practical. About 50 are required. The hessian is supplied by U.S. stores. Bomb stacks are all located under trees and bushes."

The Allied Works Council (AWC) meeting No. 204 of 24 March 1943 noted the following for "5508. Bomb Dump - Garbutt - Roads U.S.M. 217":-

Requisition No. 148 for the scarifying, reshaping and gravelling of existing roads at Belgian Gardens to Bomb Dump site and provision of new road from No. 3 Runway, Garbutt to Bomb Dump site was received.

Advice was also received from the Superintending Engineer, Townsville, that this work is in hand by the Main Roads Commission.

It was decided that an order will be lodged for the work on the Commission, through the Co-ordinator-General.

Time of completion was fixed at 6 weeks.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY: For following action.


Photo:- 24 April 1944

Shows two dirt roads running upwards towards the Town Common. They join
and then split again before reaching a road running roughly left to right.


 Photo:- 24 April 1944

This photo shows the area above the first photo above.
Note the photos are not orientated north - south.


Photo:- 24 April 1944

A closeup of the 2nd photo above reveals the existence of some buildings
 at other infrastructure, probably the Headquarters area for the bomb dumps


By March to May 1942, Garbutt Airfield was reported as having 24 various bomb dumps – probably including a US bomb dump on the northern side of aerodrome where “stacks of yellow bombs” were undisguised under trees. (Source: NAA 267364, pp42). The US Bomb Dump is most likely this US Bomb Dump at the Town Common described on this web page.


Note:-  U.S. WWII bombs usually had olive drab bodies (except for Chemical filled ones which usually had grey bodies). Yellow bands/stripes or markings usually denoted either HE or Smk bombs.



I'd like to thank Graham Smedley, Kevin Parkes and Ian Bullpitt for their assistance with this web page.



"History of the Queensland Main Roads Commission during World War II 1939 - 1945"

"RAAF Aerodromes Townsville" NAA File Barcode 267364, Page 42 of PDF file


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 24 June 2017

This page last updated 18 January 2020