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13 Australian Army Personnel Staging Camp, Oonoonba (13 APSC) was used as a staging camp for many of the Australian Army Military personnel on their way to New Guinea during WWII. It was built in the Meatworks holding paddock on the high ground between the Oonoonba School and the Oonoonba Animal Health Station beside Abbott Street and the railway line. The Staging Camp had its own open air picture theatre.

13 Australian Personnel Staging Camp was split in November 1943. The new Staging Camp (Townsville) was established at Smyths Railway Siding south of Townsville to look after the troops returning from overseas whilst 13 Australian Personnel Staging Camp continied to assemble and equip troops leaving Australia  for the battlefields.

Ian Edwardson told me in May 2014 that a colleague of his back in the 1960s who had served in New Guinea reckoned the Oonoonba Staging Camp was considered a less than ideal place to be sent to on RTA. Not only was it a long way from the southern States, with long waiting times for onward movement, but it was a most uncomfortable camp, sited as it was near the meatworks.

To prevent fiddling with the paperwork and changing the destination to somewhere more convivial, a piece of reversed carbon paper was used to inscribe the destination on both sides of the Movement Order. The carbon paper was closely guarded, but where there’s a will there’s a way. A piece was "liberated" and by four strokes of the pen and the exchange of certain goods and/or cash,  "OONOONBA" became "TOOWOOMBA!


Military Camps/Units at Oonoonba
(previously Fairfield) during WW2



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This page first produced 21 November 2003

This page last updated 12 September 2021