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A Detachment of the 391st Engineers were located in the Engineer Depot at Cannon Hill in Brisbane, Queensland. It was located on the land where the Australian Archives is located at Wynnum Road in Cannon Hill (UBD Map 161 Ref J10). There were a number of large buildings including a large igloo style building which still stands on the parcel of land near the corner of Creek Road and Wynnum Road. This igloo is currently occupied by Food Science Australia, a Joint Venture of CSIRO and the Australian Food Industry Science Centre (AFISC).


Photo:- Peter Dunn

Igloo that used to be located at Cannon Hill and used by Food Science Australia


Well that's progress some say!


Photo:- Peter Aust

Unfortunately the Cannon Hill Igloo was demolished early on 6 November 2008


In an article in the Wynnum Herald of 6 November 2008, a Council spokesman said that the Council had not received any application to demolish buildings on the site.


Photo:- Peter Aust

The demolished Igloo


Photo:- Peter Aust

On the way down.


Photo:- Peter Aust

Excavator at work


Photo:- Peter Aust

Almost gone!


The October 1943 Military Telephone Directory for Brisbane describes this depot as follows:-




Engineer Depot (Cannon Hill)
    Detachment 391st Engineers:
        Capt. Little

391stengdepot04.jpg (91233 bytes)

391st Engineer's Depot, Cannon Hill, Brisbane in 1943
Photo: NARA RG 111 SC # 249119


Photo:- Peter Dunn

Another view of the Igloo


Photo:- Peter Dunn

The other end of the Igloo


There were two underground rooms or bunkers, one at each end of this igloo. On 11 November 2008 Peter Aust told me that he was talking to one of the demolition guys who said they had found the bunker from the western end of the igloo. It was about 3 to 4 m long, just under a metre wide and the bottom was around 1.3 m below the floor height, with a stairway. It was mainly filled in with dirt, also probably had some concrete that CSIRO had put in as part of their crane support. The demolishers broke it up like the rest of the floor. At that stage they had not started on the office area slab, where the other bunker was located. Peter Aust told the demolisher that there should be another bunker in line with the first one.


Photo:- Peter Dunn

The location of the bunker at the western end of the igloo. The former stairwell that accessed this
underground room was filled in with concrete to alloy the support frame for a new crane that was
installed. This was the reddish brown steelwork bolted to the floor behind the yellow ladder.


Photo:- Peter Dunn

I have outlined the filled in area where the stairwell used to be
located. There is an unedited version of this photo below.


It would appear that the area occupied by the 391st Engineers was taken over by 3 SD RAAF after the war finished in late 1945. RAAF Cannon Hill buildings probably used by 3 Stores Depot were listed as follows:-

Warehouse No. 1 322' x 97' 6" Store
Warehouse No. 2 200' x 106' Store
Warehouse No. 4 61' x 30' Store
Warehouse No. 5 300' x 106' Store
Warehouse No. 6 182' x 30' Store
Warehouse No. 7 450' x 71' Store
Building No. 8 60' x 20' Store
Building No. 9 62' x 31' Workshop
Building No. 10 96' 6" x 30' Office
Building No. 11 110' x 20' Mess & Kitchen
Building No. 12 42' x 19' 6" Sergeants Amenities Room
Building No. 13 48' x 16' Officers Mess
Building No. 14 61' x 21' 6" Married Quarters
Building No. 15 - 19  - Tanks
Building No. 24 50' x 32' Airmen's Recreation Hut
Building No. 25 30' x 18' Bath House
Building No. 26 14' x 11' 6" Latrine
Building No. 27 18' 6" x 7' 3" Latrine
Building No. 28 11' x 7' Guard Hut
Building No. 30 16' x 10' Fire Tender Hut
Building No. 34 48' x 16' Sergeants Sleeping Hut
Building No. 35 48' x 16' Airmen's Sleeping Hut
Building No. 36 24' x 8' 6" Ablutions
Building No. 37 54' 6" x 20' Carpenters Shop
Building No. 38 40' x 30' Store
Building No. 39 10' 6" x 6' Ablutions
Building No. 40 17' x 10' Change Room


The following photos were taken by Peter Dunn on 27 June 2008



Terry Gallaway, a reporter with Sky News, has memories of this camp area in wartime as being crowded with men and vehicles. Terry said that after the war the whole paddock surrounding the igloo was packed with motor vehicles (Jeeps, GMC and Studebaker trucks, left hand drive sedans) and military earthmoving equipment and tractors etc. Terry believes (though he admits it may just be an urban legend) that a lot of war reparations material, including German engines and machinery parts, passed through that depot between about 1946 and 1948. He recalls everything being auctioned off there. In the 1950s Terry thought that it may have become a CHEP depot. Terry used to live in Muir Street at Cannon Hill, about a mile or less back towards the city on Wynnum Road.

On 14 March 2008 an advertisement appeared in the Courier Mail for the sale of the above site at 31 Murrarie Road, Cannon Hill along with the other part of the original 391st Engineers Depot at 1068 Wynnum Road, Cannon Hill. Looks like the WW2 Igloo will be demolished. Another piece of our WW2 Heritage about to disappear.


Can anyone help me with some info on the 391st Engineers
and what they did at this location?



I'd like to thank Roger Marks for his assistance with the NARA photo for this home page.

I'd also like to thank Mark Walker, Terry Gallaway and Peter Aust for their assistance with this web page.


Can anyone help me with more information?


"Australia @ War" 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 17 August 2003

This page last updated 03 September 2018