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There was a staging camp located in Collins Paddock at Edge Hill, in Cairns in far north Queensland during WWII. The camp was located between Collins's house on the hill, Vessey's Farm and Woodward Street. See the drawing of the camp area below.

A house, then called "Arcadia" at 28 Collins Avenue, Cairns, owned by Mr. Henry McDonnell was used by the Army from 1942 to 1944 as an Observation Post. The house is now called "Poinciana Lodge". The owners of the house in November 2018, told me that an elderly man visited them one day and said he lived in the house during WWII. He told them that they had dug out under the house for a radio room and that many men lived in tents on the property which was a much larger property then. An indigenous lady who lived on site did the cooking for the troops.

The first units of the 411th Engineer Base Shop Battalion arrived in Cairns on 6 February 1943. They were accommodated temporarily at the Edge Hill Staging Camp at Collin's Paddock until their barracks were completed. They established lookout locations and machine gun posts on the foothills of Mount Whitfield and Mount Lumley.


NAA Plan

Edge Hill Staging Camp for 400 men. Note Woodward Street running upwards at far left


Buildings shown on the above NAA plan are as follows:-

Administration Hut and Q Store x 2
OR's Mess x 2
OR's Kitchen x 2
Officers and Sergeants Kitchen and Mess x 2
Showers and ablutions
Latrines x 2


Outline of the approximate boundaries of the
Edge Hill Staging Camp in Collins Paddock


Location of the Edge Hill Staging Camp in Collins Paddock in 1952



"I Didn't Know That - Cairns and Districts Tully to Cape York 1939 - 1946 Service Personnel and Civilians"
by Vera Bradley



I'd like to thank Paul Snow and Rhiannon Andersson for their assistance with this web page.


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This page first produced 18 July 2003

This page last updated 08 January 2023