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At the start of WW2, large flat areas had to be located to create tent accommodation for the many thousands of troops arriving in Brisbane. One of the most suitable areas to quickly establish large military camps was local race tracks. In Brisbane, Ascot Racecourse (now Eagle Farm Racecourse) and the adjacent Doomben Racecourse were both closed and became Camp Ascot and Camp Doomben. Albion Park Race Track was the only race track in Brisbane that continued to operate as a race track throughout the war years.


John Wayne and Lt. Col. Bleckwenn at the Albion Park Races in December 1943


The Lt Col. Bleckwenn in the above photograph is possibly William Jefferson Bleckwenn (rather than Blackween) who had enlisted in the Wisconsin Army National Guard as medical student. He came to the Southwest Pacific area in March 1942 as Commanding Officer of the 135th Medical Regiment. Colonel Bleckwenn appears in the May 1944 Military Telephone Directory as the Base Surgeon for Base Section 3, located in the Surgeon's Office at Somerville House.


The Albion Park Racetrack during WW2. Note the two GMH Allison
Overhaul Assembly Plant Igloos
located just above Breakfast Creek



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This page first produced 8 July 2005

This page last updated 04 August 2018