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Photo:- Kevin O'Reilly Collection

1945 photograph of RAAF Base Nhill. The remains of buildings in the foreground were the 7 kitchens and
7 Ablution blocks built for the Americans for a proposed advanced flying training unit in 1942. It was to
be a tented camp. There were 400 wooden tent bases made which eventually went north to Townsville.


Photo:- Kevin O'Reilly Collection

RAAF Base Nhill is late 1942. The disused US Camp can be seen to the left of the main RAAF Camp area


Photo:- Kevin O'Reilly Collection

Closeup showing the 7 ablution blocks at far left and on the other side of some open land was the 7 kitchen
blocks. The 400 tents were to have been erected in the open ground between the two lots of buildings.





No.2. Air Navigation School., Nhill – Inspection of
Joint Secretary, Board of Business Administration

My submission, 42/1074, of 29 August 42 included a reference to unused buildings originally intended for a U.S.A. Flying Unit. Para (1) of that submission read as follows:_

“ Unused Buildings”

I was informed that, as it had been intended to establish an American Flying Unit at the station and, in anticipation of a tented camp being provided for their accommodation, cooking, ablution, and latrine buildings were erected and have been standing unused ever since. These buildings are situated in an area 150 to 200 yards east or north-east of the Station Buildings. The following are particulars of these buildings:-

(a) Seven kitchen buildings, each 40 feet long by 18 feet wide, constructed of fi bro-cement with corrugated fi bro-cement roofs.

(b) Seven galvanised iron ablution sheds, each 63 feet long by 14 feet wide, fi tted with showers, ablution benches and taps.

(c) Seven galvanised iron latrine buildings, each 42 feet long by 6 feet wide. These are the trench type of latrine.

In addition, there are 400* tent fl oors stacked in the open which have never been used.

Comment: Group Captain Knox, D.W.M. (RAAF) and Colonel Abbott of U.S.A.F.I.A. (Engineers Branch) were interviewed by Mr. Towler and advised of this position. It was agreed that steps would be taken to transfer the tent floors for use elsewhere and close consideration would be given to the advisability of dismantling the unused buildings.

Mr. H.F. McCrea, departmental Inspector, when inspecting Rail Head Supply (A.A.S.C.) RAAF, Nhill, noted that the buildings were still unoccupied and that the 400 tent floors were still stacked in the open.

It is considered that the attention of the Board should again be drawn to this matter.

(Sgd) H.A. Stubbs
For Chief inspector
For Inspector General of Administration

* Note: These were each 14ft. X 12 ft.



Minute -- Board of Business Administration
NHILL - No. 2 Air Navigation School – Unused
Buildings and Tent Floors


(i) On 29/8/1942, the C.I.A. invited attention to the following matters observed during an inspection of No 2. ANS. At Nhill.

(a) Unused Buildings.

7 kitchen buildings, 7 G.I. ablution sheds and
7 G.I. latrine buildings.

(b) Unused tent floors.

400 were stacked in the open and never been used.

These matters were brought to the notice of the Department of Air.

(ii) On 28/5/1943, the C.I.A. reported that the buildings are still unoccupied and the 400 tent floors were still stacked in the open.

The Department of Air was asked to give these matters urgent consideration and correct.

(iii) In memorandum dated 19/4/1943 Air advised:

“……… Action in regard to these buildings is deferred in anticipation of a Works programme to provide for an increase in establishment at No. 2 ANS.

The formation of a further school at the Unit is under consideration at the present time, and an investigation of accommodation requirements is being made to maximise the utilisation of U.S.A. Buildings and tent floors.”

Present Submission

Report dated 19/5/1943 by the C.I.A. advised that no action in regard to the utilisation of the buildings and tent floors at No. 2 ANS. Nhill.

Boards Observations:-

The Board recalled that this matter of unused buildings and tent floors at Nhill had been brought to the attention of the Department of Air on 4/9/1942, and 2/6/1943 and expressed concern at the advice and furnished that both the buildings and tent floors still remain unused.

In view of the fact that almost twelve months have elapsed since the matter fi rst came under notice, the Board is of the opinion that a decision regarding this matter should be arrived at without further delay.

Board of Business Administration



The Assistant Secretary
Department of the Treasury
Defence Division
Victoria Barracks


Reference is made to your memorandum dated 16 August, 1943, forwarding a copy of Minute 2119 issued by the Board of Business administration regarding the utilising of buildings and tent fl oors taken over at Nhill were as follows:-

(a) 3 Kitchens.

(b) 7 Ablution Huts.

(c) 7 Latrine Huts over pit Latrines.

(d) 100 sets of tent fl oors each comprising four sections of size 5 ft x 8 ft.

(e) a number of duck-boards.

Of the three kitchens, one has been moved to a new position in the main camp area and altered as necessary to form a Briefi ng and Crew room, and the other two are in use as store huts.

From preliminary discussions which have taken place to determine revisions to the training syllabus, it is anticipated that some small additional accommodation will be necessary at NHILL. In planning these extensions, every effort will be made to ensure the maximum utilisation of the remaining fitments and building materials.

Regarding the floor boards, the despatch of 70 sets to Townsville was completed by 24th June, 1943, and 10 sets have been sent to No 4. Embarkation Depot, Adelaide. Of the remaining 15 sets, 10 are in use at Nhill as wooden floors to store huts, and 5 are spare.

Sgd. M.C.Law, Secretary




No.1 Training Group
NHILL, Victoria – Use of American Buildings

Reference is made to your memorandum dated 11 Sept. !943, concerning the use of materials from American Camp Buildings.

2. It is advised that no objection is raised to the reuse of materials from the disused American Latrines for the specifi c purposes set out in memorandum.

3. It is essential that demolition of the existing buildings is carried out in an orderly manner and that materials be removed only for works for which approval has been granted.

Sgd. Group Captain,D.W.B for Chief of Air Staff


Nhill Airfield



I'd like to thank Kevin O'Reilly for his assistance with this web page.



In Just Five Years
The RAAF & Nhill in World War II, 1941-1946
by Kevin O'Reilly


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This page first produced 18 July 2009

This page last updated 25 January 2020