13 AUSTRALIAN ARMY PERSONNEL STAGING CAMP, OONOONBA
TOWNSVILLE, QLD
DURING WWII

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13 Australian Army Personnel Staging Camp, Oonoonba (13 APSC) was used as a staging camp for many of the Australian Army Military personnel on their way to New Guinea during WWII. It was built in the Meatworks holding paddock on the high ground between the Oonoonba School and the Oonoonba Animal Health Station beside Abbott Street and the railway line.

The Staging Camp had its own open air picture theatre.

Ian Edwardson told me in May 2014 that a colleague of his back in the 1960s who had served in New Guinea reckoned the Oonoonba Staging Camp was considered a less than ideal place to be sent to on RTA. Not only was it a long way from the southern States, with long waiting times for onward movement, but it was a most uncomfortable camp, sited as it was near the meatworks.

To prevent fiddling with the paperwork and changing the destination to somewhere more convivial, a piece of reversed carbon paper was used to inscribe the destination on both sides of the Movement Order. The carbon paper was closely guarded, but where there’s a will there’s a way. A piece was "liberated" and by four strokes of the pen and the exchange of certain goods and/or cash,  "OONOONBA" became "TOOWOOMBA!

 

Military Camps/Units at Oonoonba
(previously Fairfield) during WW2

 

REFERENCES:

The only National Archives Australia reference to Oonoonba is as follows:- 

Title
Workshops - Oonoonba
Series number
B5281
Control symbol
1.14/12
Contents date range
circa 1940 - circa 1945
 
Access status
Not yet examined
Location
Melbourne
Barcode no
6008363

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to than Ian Edwardson for his assistance with this web page.

 

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©  Peter Dunn 2006

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This page first produced 21 November 2003

This page last updated 30 May 2014