ST. LAURENCE'S COLLEGE,
HEADQUARTERS FOR BRISBANE FORTRESS COMMAND
The Headquarters for Brisbane Fortress Command during World War 2 was located at St. Laurence's College at 82 Stephens Road, South Brisbane. The Brisbane Covering Force, Coastal Defence Headquarters CDH and CFD took over St Laurence's 14 Feb 1942. They move dto St. Laurence's because the Chief Engineer considered the previous council building they were using to be unsafe. The school is located on the top of a small hill. Archbishop Duhig had offered the use of the school to the Australian Army.
St. Laurence's School, South Brisbane
Fortress Command had earlier been located in the South Brisbane Municipal Chambers (sometimes referred to as the South Brisbane Town Hall) at the foot of Stephens Hill.
Colonel G.P.W. Meredith, RAA was the Commander of Brisbane Fixed Defences until July 1943. Brigadier E.M. Neyland, RAA took over from him.
Brother O.S. "Stan" Adams was Principal of St Laurence's College in 1942.
A former student of St. Laurence's, Frank Hills, told me that he joined the school in May 1942. By that time the school had been relocated to a large house in Chatsworth Road, Greenslopes. It was on the right hand side at the top of Chatsworth Road. This property at Greenslopes had earlier been selected to establish a junior college but was never used. The large house on the property was modified for use as a boy's school.
Brother's Residence, St. Laurence's School, South Brisbane
When the Army Officers moved into the brother's residence at St. Laurence's College the brothers relocated to Nudgee Junior College at Indooroopilly. It was not before long that Nudgee Junior College was also commandeered by the Army.
At the beginning of 1943 when the threat of a Japanese invasion had subsided, Br. O.S. Adams sent a petition to the Minister for the Army to see if they could have their school back. Br. Adams was advised very shortly that the Coastal Defence HQ was moving north and the school could return to normal activities. Frank Hills said that the Army had moved out of St. Laurence's College by the middle of 1943 and the students relocated back to their college.
The Army restored the school to a reasonable condition. The Christian Brothers received any recompense from the Army. All recompense was given to the Archbishop of Brisbane.
There have been many unconfirmed rumours over the years of tunnels running from St Laurence's School across to Somerville House.
Can anyone help
me with more information on
the use of St Laurence's College during WW2?
I'd like to thank Frank Hills, former student and Melody Cargeeg, Senior Teacher Librarian at St. Laurence's College for their assistance with this home page.
I'd also like to thank Matt Golden, a former student of the school, for his assistance with this web page.
A guide to historic fixed defence sites of Brisbane
and the Moreton Bay Islands
By D.W. Spethman and R.G. Miller
Can anyone help me with more information?
"Australia @ War" WWII Research Products
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 19 February 2002
This page last updated 25 January 2020