CHIDLOWS ARMY CAMP
WA, IN AUSTRALIA DURING WWII
Chidlows Army Camp was established near the Goldfields water pipeline about 40 kilometers south west of Northam Army Camp from March 1942. Up to 1944 more than 115 different Australian Army Units camped at Chidlows. The modern day town of Chidlow (minus the "s") was originally built around Chidlow's Well. In the 1980's the spelling for the town changed from Chidlows to Chidlow.
Chidlows Army Camp was designed as a brigade camp with a Brigade Headquarters camp, three Battalion camps, one for a Field Regiment and Anti-tank Battery, one for a Field Company, one for a Field Ambulance and one for the AASC and AAOC attachments. Three of the nine camp areas could each accommodate 750 men and the other six could accommodate 250 men in each area. Chidlows Army Camp contained the usual kitchens, mess halls, canteens, a movie theatre, showers, ablutions, latrines.
The three Battalion camps were located on either side of a bush road off Forge Road. The Headquarters Camp was on the corner of Old Northam Road and Forge Road. The AAMC Camp was located on Old Northam Road, west of Forge Road. The AAMC Camp was occupied by the Field Ambulance Unit which operated the Camp Dressing Station. The Ordnance Camp which was located on Old Northam Road on the corner of Haigh Road, was occupied by the Brigade's transport, stores and workshop elements..
6 Infantry Brigade arrived on 28 March 1942 which was soon after construction commenced and by the time it was built, Major General Gordon Bennett, GOC of 3 Australia Corp, directed that such fixed camps should not be used, so thereafter it was used as a transit camp for units arriving or leaving Western Australia.
Headquarters 4th Infantry Division and 2 Infantry Brigade Group arrived at Chidlows Camp from Victoria. 6th Infantry Brigade Group left Chidlows for Geraldton.
Erection of Camp buildings at Chidlows was completed in March 1943.
One of the many units that arrived at Chidlows was the 4th Australian Infantry Battalion which arrived at Chidlows on 14 July 1942. The 4th Battalion remained at Chidlows until 4 August 1942 when they moved by train to Gingin No. 1 Camp. The 6th Australian Infantry Battalion and the 10th Australian Field Regiment left Chidlows Army Camp on 23 July 1943. The 2/11th Australian Infantry Battalion left Chidlows on 13 July 1943.
8th Infantry Brigade Group moved to Chidlows in September 1943.
3rd Motor Brigade Group moved to Chidlows in January 1944 and left in August 1944.
The 4th Motor Regiment moved to Chidlows in February 1944.
Late in the war, many of the huts at Chidlows were relocated to other camps. The Australian Army recovered technical and useable equipment. Many of the remaining huts were demolished or souvenired by the locals and bush fires ruined the remaining huts.
Some of the road layouts for the former Chidlows Army Camp can still be made out on Google Earth. Many old concrete slabs for former kitchens, ablutions, latrines and offices can still be seen in the bush. Above ground drainage system are still evident, along with the remains of sullage ponds.
I'd like to thank Graham McKenzie-Smith and Ernie Polis 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 1 February 2017
This page last updated 24 January 2020