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St. Patrick's (Catholic) College, The Strand, Townsville, was acquired by the Australian Army for use as WAAAF Barracks accommodation during WW2. 

On 10 September 1942, the Townsville W/T Station was formed in premises in Sturt Street, Townsville. About 172 WAAAFs were needed to operate this W/T Station and its supporting Signals Office, two transmitting stations, a remote receiving station and a shadow signals office. To accommodate these extra WAAAFs, the already overcrowded accommodation at the WAAAF Barracks at St. Anne's and the "A" and "E" blocks at St. Patrick's Convent on The Strand were extended. The whole of the St. Patrick's Convent was taken over from the RAAF to accommodate the influx of WAAAFs.


Little Flower Academy, St Patricks College, The Strand


The RAAF Recreation Centre was established in the park across the road from St. Patrick's School.

On 8 December 1944, Air Commodore De La Rue, the Air Officer Commanding, North-Eastern Area Headquarters ordered that the WAAAFs had to relocate from St. Anne's and the Townsville Grammar School and eventually from St. Patrick's College and the Little Flower Convent on The Strand to temporary accommodation at the YWCA and at "Currajong", a converted guest house which had been recently vacated by the RAAF. To allow various houses and buildings to be returned to their civilian owners, a WAAAF Base Camp was established at Belgian Gardens in some barracks that had previously been occupied by US military personnel. This consolidated all WAAAFs into one Barracks area.

On 5 December 1944, His Lordship, the Bishop of Townsville, the Most Rev. H.E. Ryan, D.D. presided over a large gathering of Catholics at the Sacred Heart Presbytery in Townsville to discuss the future of the buildings owned by the Sisters of Mercy which had been occupied by the military for about three years.



"And all this shall be added"
Catholic Education in Queensland - Volume VI
by Susan Mary Tobin


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This page first produced 22 June 2002

This page last updated 25 January 2020