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Australia's version of Bletchley Park right here in Brisbane


In late 1943, US Army established Camp Ascot Park to accommodate the huts of the Code Breaking organisation Central Bureau, which had outgrown its Headquarters located nearby in a large two story house called "Nyrambla" at 21 Henry Street, Ascot in Brisbane. Ascot Park was a few minutes walk from "Nyrambla". Two guard houses and a high man proof fence provided the necessary security for this top secret location. Personnel needed identity passes to gain entry to Ascot Park.


Showing his identity pass to the security guard on entering Ascot Park


 The area occupied by Camp Ascot Park later became the Members Car Park for Eagle Farm Racecourse.

Camp Ascot Park was not an accommodation camp. It was a Code Breaking Camp. Along with "Nyrambla" at nearby 21 Henry Street, Ascot, it was Australia's version of Bletchley Park!! IBM Tabulators were used by Central Bureau inside the old Hamilton Fire Station located at the western boundary of the small triangular park.


Plan:- NAA Item ID 3271623

Camp Ascot Park


Plan:- NAA Item ID 3271623

Huts were used as indicated above


Plan:- NAA Item ID 1674545

Camp Ascot Park - Note that the Hamilton Fire Station is shown as a School


One cryptanalyst, who chose not to be identified, described his experience in the huts in Ascot Park:-

"I arrived in Brisbane, Australia, in the spring of 1944. I was assigned to Hut Fourteen. . .. Each hut had a work space for approximately thirty or forty people. Shortly after my arrival, Central Bureau went on round-the clock shift work. I enjoyed my shift, which was 5:00 P.M. to 2:00 AM."

Professor Thomas G. Room was appointed the head of the code breakers in Hut 9 at Ascot Park dealing with Meteorological codes. Hut 13 was apparently used for Traffic Analysis. Major Hugh Erskine, an American, was in charge of "H" Branch, the Translation Section in one of the huts. Captain Eric Nave occupied one of the huts with his team.

Barney Perler, Newton Allen, Don Ledwith, Charles Higuera, Earle Hibbs, Bob Koshland, Hank Weber, Pat Patterson, Garrison Mitchell, Ray Rivera, Michel Beauchman, Arthur Sullivan, Irving Brown, Pablo Costello, James Ballard, Lester Truex, Elsie (Washington), Val Miller and Norma Keeling worked in Hut 20. The names highlighted were all Americans.


Photo:- "Sydney University, T.G. Room and Codebreaking in WWII" by Peter Donovan and John Mack

Occupants of Hut 9 at Camp Ascot Park. FRONT ROW:- Capt. Donald Laidlaw, Lt. Judith Roe,
E.W. Bennett, Professor Thomas G. Room, Walter Scott, Barry G. Smallman, C. Hill, Wilfred Varn.
SECOND ROW:- Robert Cochran, Max Gershun, R. Brown, Alan Cole, Frederick Lamb,
Sgt. Anthony A. Ashbolt, Lance Sgt. Charles T. Baker. THIRD ROW:- D.A. Gross, C.E. Bevan.


The Hut 9 Team.
Cyril Smith, Reg Williams, Colin Bevan, Barry Smallman,
Dick Smith (USA), Dick Wilkinson, Donald Friend. FRONT ROW:- Max Gershun (USA),
Judith Roe, Professor Thomas G. Room, Margaret Hill, Robert Brown.


Photo:- via Capt. Dennis Magennis

Lt. Judith Roe with Professor Thomas G. Room in Ascot Park


Camp Ascot Park


Each morning at 8am, personnel started to arrive at Ascot
Park, as short walk from the adjacent Camp Ascot


American SIS officers waiting for the lunch-time bus to Gregory Terrace Officers Club


Tea-break time at Camp Ascot Park


A representative of each of the services in SIS in Ascot Park


Photo:- AWM P05035.002

Australian Air Force personnel at Camp Ascot Park


Photo:- AWM P01443.018

Group photo of Code Breakers in Ascot Park


Photo:- Harold Bolitho via Neil Bolitho

Course 4, at Camp Ascot Park on 24 June 1944, Brisbane, R.A.A.F Command, Central Bureau

Back Row:- LAC Earl Ross (NSW), Bob Fischer (Sale, Vic), Harold Bolitho (Sale, Vic), Thalhammer (?) (USA), O’Shannasy (USA), ??? (USA), Fl Lt Burbage, Fl Lt Linton (Mildura), Lt Col Sandford, Sq Ldr Booth, Lieut Atcheson (USA), Lieutenant Toothacher (USA), ??? (USA) Oscar (USA), ??? (USA), LAC Noel Langby (NSW), Jim Nodwell (QLD), Kerry Bright

Middle Row:- LAC Noel Proctor (NSW), Bill Carter (Vic), Ern "Nate" Routby (USA), Bob Norris (USA), ??? (USA), Stevens (USA), ??? (USA), ??? (USA), Moses (USA), Arnecon (?) (USA), ?? (USA), Schmitt (USA), Gorring, Fl Sgt Bennett, LAC Witham (Vic)

Front Row:-  LAC Fred Bryant (Vic), Sgt Bert Gough (Vic), LAC Stuart Muntz (Vic), Noel Clarke (Vic), Harry Clarricootes (?) (Vic), Reg Murphy (NSW), Alan Mierisch (?) (Vic), Nightingale (Vic), Lo…(?)  Burgess (QLD)

Absent:-  Alan Pharoah (Vic)


Photo:- AWM P01443.034

Code Breakers on Parade in Ascot Park


The old Hamilton Fire Station at Ascot Park near Eagle Farm Racecourse in Brisbane


The various temporary huts at Camp Ascot Park were auctioned off to the public on 2 March 1946 by Auctioneers F.G. Pearce Pty. Ltd. on behalf of the Commonwealth Disposals Commission as follows:-

Canteen & Orderly Room 19ft 6ins by 60ft
13 Office buildings 19ft 6ins by 60ft
3 Office buildings 18ft by 60 ft
1 Office building 102ft by 18ft
1 Store Room 12ft by 16ft
2 Latrines 19ft 6 ins by 60ft
2 Sentry boxes
and a number of other useful buildings

The 30 huts were sold at prices ranging from £60 to £100. Most of the buyers wanted the huts for seaside residences.


The Telegraph (Brisbane) Wednesday 27 February 1946



"The Quiet heroes of the Southwest Pacific Theater: An Oral History of the Men and Women of CBB and FRUMEL" by Sharon A Maneki


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This page first produced 22 December 2007

This page last updated 22 October 2021