MARGARET MARR MEMORIAL HOME FOR BOYS
TINGAL ROAD, WYNNUM, BRISBANE, QLD
USED AS BARRACKS FOR RAAF RADAR STATION NO. 23 AT LYTTON HILL

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Margaret Marr Memorial Home for Boys

 

There is a plaque located on a rock in a park near the corner of Tingal Road and Petersen Street at Wynnum, which commemorates the Margaret Marr Memorial Home for Boys. The park is near the entrance to the new Bayshore Housing Estate.

 

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The Plaque on the rock

 

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During World War 2 the Margaret Marr Memorial Home for Boys was used as barracks for the staff of No. 23 Radar Station RAAF located at Lytton Hill near Fort Lytton. The Boys were relocated from their home to a disused hospital in Proston.

On 13 May 1943 No. 23 Radar Station plotted a surface vessel which was located about 40 miles off the coast of Moreton Island. The blip was characteristic of a surfaced submarine. W.A.A.A.F. Operators P. Woodward, K. Rae and M. Hess reported the plots to the Fighter Sector Control in Brisbane. The plots were verified by the Commanding Officer of No. 23 Radar Station, Pilot Officer W. Fielder-Gill.

The hospital ship "Centaur" was torpedoed off Moreton Island by the Japanese submartine I-177 at 4.10am on the following day, 14 May 1943. 268 people were killed in this disaster.

Aubrey M Brown (62677) was located at Fort Lytton as a Radar Operator from 29 May 1942 until 1 October 1942. Aubrey said that the Radar site was shared with the Army who looked after RAAF Administration at Lytton. There was a railway line serving the site, but it was a long walk from the site to the station. Aubrey thought that the Commanding Officer was a chap named FLETCHER while he was stationed there.

Aubrey Brown advised that around the night the Japanese submarines attacked Sydney harbour, the mother subs were detected by No. 23 Radar Station at Fort Lytton, and provided some warning that an attack would most probably occur somewhere along the coast.

Alan Webster and his brother were two of the boys at the Margaret Marr Memorial Home for a brief period at the latter end of 1941 before they were evacuated to Proston in the South Burnett region of Queensland.

In the lead up to the move and the closing of the home, one job Alan had was the killing of the chooks, their de-feathering and gutting ready for the pot.

In the period between the closing of the home and the move to Proston the boys were billeted with various church families in the Wynnum area. Alan's billet was with a Mrs. Tritton, who was the Chairperson of the Home’s committee at that time.

The move to Proston was made en masse by train. Alan cannot recall where they caught the train. There was flooding on the railway line north of Gympie and the train had to carefully proceed over bridges that were almost underwater.

On arrival at Proston they were again billeted with church families. Alan stayed with the Smith family and his brother stayed with the Day family who ran the local grocery store called Perren and Day.

The Home management had acquired a large timber dwelling on high stumps opposite the Anglican Church in Proston. It had large verandahs which were eventually closed in where the boys slept, and the staff lived in the existing upstairs facilities. Cooking and dining facilities were built in under the house.

The boys’ thunder boxes were in a separate building at the rear of the lot.

Discipline was strict, but Alan has no recollection of any child abuse during the brief period of the year they were "inmates" and Alan attributes that to the home being run by a “Master" and his wife and as Alan recollects it, all female staff.

 

REFERENCE BOOKS

RAAF RADAR in WW II Pictorial I Overseas and Early Groups at Radio School

RAAF RADAR in WW II Pictorial II Mainland Stations

PICTORIAL III RAAF RADAR in WW II (An Album from all Areas)

The above three books were all published by:-

EW & E Simmonds
2/13 CROMER ct
Banora Point
NSW 2486

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Alan Webster for his assistance with this web page.

 

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This page first produced 17 June 2001

This page last updated 11 September 2018