ARMY SIGNALS COMMUNICATIONS CENTRE
IN A BUNKER AT ROSENEATH
NEAR TOWNSVILLE
DURING WW2

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In December 1942, two classrooms of the Stuart State School beside the Stuart Gaol on the outskirts of Townsville were used by the Army as the main Army Signals Communication Centre in north Queensland. Major Noel Vary was the signal master at the Signals Centre for the 6 months that it was located at the school. Another building at the school housed the "Shadow" Exchange. It was fully surrounded by bomb blast protection. The equipment in the Exchange duplicated the main exchange in the Townsville Post Office.

 

Roseneath Army Signals Bunker

 

Roseneath Army Signals Bunker. Note the large boiler tube in the background.

 

Large boiler tube in the background on hill behind bunker.
Can anyone one confirm where this boiler tube came from?

 


Photo:- Mel Dundas-Taylor

One end of the boiler tube.

 

The large boiler tube in the above photographs does not appear on aerial photographs of the area up to 1982, when there is only a track shown leading across to the area.  By 1985 the boiler tube is visible in aerial photographs and a road has been built from the west to the boiler tube location.  It would appear that it was placed on the site somewhere between 1982 and 1985. Could this boiler tube have possibly come from the Hubert's Well Power Station at Aitkenvale which was demolished in March 1969. Its boilers were advertised for Auction on 24 July 1954. The Power Station was often incorrectly called the Hubert Wells Power Station.

 


Photo:- Mel Dundas Taylor

Steam Relief Valve at one end of the boiler tube manufactured by the
American Steam Gauge and Valve Manufacturing Company, Boston, USA.

 


Photo:- Mel Dundas-Taylor

Steam Relief Valve viewed from the other side. It appears to state
"American Valve Pat'd Nov. ??" and a large number "2" below that.

 

Roseneath Army Signals Bunker

 

The Signals Centre was then relocated to the concrete structure built into the side of the hill adjacent to the Flinders Highway at Roseneath and near its intersection with the road to the summit of Mt. Stuart (now called Tarakan St.). The Signal Centre contained telex, teleprinters, remote control radio, duplex teletype, hand-speed Morse code channels and high-speed Morse code via an overseas radio link. A group of cryptographers were used to transcribe messages into code. Approximately 80, 000 messages per week were handled by the Signals Centre when it was located at the Stuart State School.

 

Location of Signals Bunker at Roseneath

 

The Signals Centre's communications network linked up with:-

- the Army's main command centres in Brisbane and Melbourne,
- the Australian AIF units who were camped on the Atherton Tablelands,
- New Guinea via radio links
- Air Force Units in Townsville
- Navy Units in Townsville

The Signals Centre was under constant 24 hour surveillance by Army personnel. The Signals Camp area was located nearby.

 

Plan of Army Signals Bunker at Roseneath.
Based on a sketch by G. Will

 

The bunker was once occupied by squatters.

 

Operational Line Diagram Sigs 5 Aust Div
Is this bunker at Roseneath the Signals Office Switchboard
and Operations Room etc for the Sigs 5th Australian Division?

 

Bunkers in the Stuart and Roseneath areas during WW2
Click on the hyperlinks on the above map to go to the relevant home page

 

WWII Bunker tour of Townsville

 

REFERENCE BOOKS

"Schools at War - Memories of Schooldays during World War II"
By Greg Logan and Rosemary Mammino

 

National Archives Australia references to Roseneath are as follows:-

Roseneath Adv. LHQ. Signals - Site Plan [1/R/57]
Series number
BP378/1
Control symbol
FOLDER O TO S FOLIO 27
Contents date range
1945 - 1945
 
Access status
Open
Location
Brisbane
Barcode no
3279903

 

Title
DWB [Director of Works and Buildings] - Property - Townsville Qld - Roseneath camp - Disposal of surplus assets
Series number
A705
Control symbol
171/106/501
Contents date range
1946 - 1949
 
Access status
Not yet examined
Location
Canberra
Barcode no
3302351

 

Title
Department of Army - movement control - Townsville - W/T Station Roseneath - keying lines
Series number
MP721/1
Control symbol
W235/158
Contents date range
1944 - 1945
 
Access status
Not yet examined
Location
Melbourne
Barcode no
5812536

 

Title
Department of Army - Morse service Townsville - Cairns (Fifth Division Headquarters Roseneath Townsville - 11th Brigade near Cairns)
Series number
MP721/1
Control symbol
W235/66
Contents date range
1943 - 1944
 
Access status
Not yet examined
Location
Melbourne
Barcode no
5812452

 

Title
Department of Army - Morse service - area signal from Stuart Roseneath- Queensland
Series number
MP721/1
Control symbol
W235/121
Contents date range
1943 - 1945
 
Access status
Not yet examined
Location
Melbourne
Barcode no
5812501

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thanks Mel Dundas-Taylor for his assistance with this web page.

 

Can anyone help me with more information?

 

I need your help

Copyright

 Peter Dunn 2015

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any information or photographs


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This page first produced 25 February 2002

This page last updated 13 May 2015