US ARMY SIGNAL CORPS
CAPALABA RADIO RECEIVING SITE
AT OLD CLEVELAND ROAD EAST, CAPALABA
NEAR BRISBANE, QLD
The US Army Signal Corps established a Radio Receiving (Telecommunications) site in 1943 at Cotton's Farm, Capalaba near Brisbane during WWII. It was bounded by Tingalpa Creek on the west, Old Cleveland Road East on the eastern side and Uhlman Road to the north (UBD Map Reference 184, D8).
The Capalaba Radio Receiving site may have also been known as Willard's old property which was owned by Doug and Rosemary Cotton at the time it was acquired by the Americans. The American soldiers who looked after the radio stations were accommodated at Capalaba on the flats behind the Capalaba Hotel which was also commandeered by the Americans.
Photo:- National Archives and Records Administration
Capalaba Radio Receiving Site during WWII
Photo:- Henry W. Flora
Looking at the end of the Receiver building at the Loading Dock in 1944
The original WW2 receiving site
building at Capalaba in the
distance with the smaller backup generator building on its right.
Lionel Sharp told me that this US Army Signals Corps site at Capalaba worked in conjunction with a transmitting site at Hemmant, about 5 - 6 miles away.
A Willcox crystal controlled diversity receiver was used by the Americans at the receiving site. Type AN/FGC1 Teletype equipment was installed at the site. A Cummins diesel emergency generator was used to power the radio station in case of a loss of main AC supply.
The original WW2 receiving site building was used by the PMG for many years after the war as a high frequency radio receiving station and also by the Radio Branch to monitor radio stations and measure frequencies. It was staffed Monday to Fridays during the day and sometimes at night.
Possibly a WW2 building still
located at the site adjacent
Old Cleveland Road East at Capalaba. It was however moved
to its current location many years after the war.
The purpose of the US Army Signal Corps WWII radio site was to maintain secure communications with the Chiefs of Staff and President Roosevelt in Washington D.C. along with other routine administrative traffic.
Messages were relayed directly by teletype link to General Douglas MacArthur's GHQ, SWPA in the AMP building in Queens Street, Brisbane.
Ken Osterberg of Detachment 3 of the 832nd Signal Service Company, advised that part of Detachment 3 operated the overseas radio station. He said they were billeted near the station. It is possible that this was US Army Signal Corps' Radio Communications (Telecommunications) site at Cotton's Farm, Capalaba. Ken said that the radio station was connected by land line (teletype) to the Signal Center at the GHQ, SWPA in the AMP building in Queen Street, Brisbane. The teletype section was also connected to other installations like Sydney, Townsville, etc.
The Americans also established another Radio site at the Redland Bay Golf Course.
Entrance to the Air Navigation Facility
After WWII, the land was taken over by the PMG Department on 20 August 1946. An Air Navigation Facility operated by the Australian Communications Authority on the 260 acres of land was later used for the control and guidance of aircraft. They operated from a newer building (DCA Building) which was erected in the 1950/60's. This building cannot be seen from the main road.
A PIECE OF HISTORY - 2 SEPTEMBER 1945
This message announced the signing of the formal surrender by the Japanese on that day on the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay
This message came into the Signal Center used by the 832nd Signal Service Company on the 7th Floor of GHQ, SWPA in the AMP building in Queen Street, Brisbane. It was received at the overseas radio station (probably this site Capalaba) and was transmitted to the Signal Center via teletype. It was received in "Clear" Classification.
It was the first message to pass between Japan and the United States over an Army Circuit since Pearl Harbor. It was sent from Radio Station WVLX on USS Teton in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1945. It was a message from the Supreme Commander for the Allied Forces, General Douglas MacArthur.
The Redlands @ War
I'd like to thank Lionel Sharp for his assistance with this home page. Lionel worked at both the Capalaba and Hemmant sites back in the 1950's and has provided much of the above technical information.
I'd also like to thank Laurie Murray and Gary Ryan for their assistance with this web page.
Can anyone help me with more information?
"Australia @ War" WWII Research Products
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 14 June 2002
This page last updated 08 February 2020