6 CONVALESCENT DEPOT RAAF
THEN KNOWN AS 6 MEDICAL REHABILITATION UNIT RAAF
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WW2

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6 Convalescent Depot RAAF was formed at "The Manor", Werribee in Victoria on 16 July 1943. Flight Lieutenant J.A. Conquest was the initial Commanding Officer.

6 Convalescent Depot RAAF started to move on 1 November 1943 to Paluma, on Mt. Spec, north of Townsville, in north Queensland, Australia. They arrived in Paluma on 13 November 1943. 

Entrance to 6 Convalescent Depot RAAF

When they arrived, they painted the inside of the houses that had deteriorated due to the very humid conditions. Fifty eight convalescents were quartered at Paluma by the end of February 1944. As part of their therapy the convalescents undertook rug and cane furniture making, and raising of poultry and pigs.

WAAAF's from Townsville would attend the camp by invitation each fortnight to spend an afternoon with the unit and attend the dance that evening.

Three times a week, the convalescents would go to the coast for some fishing as part of their rehabilitation and to supplement their diet in the mess hall. Playing billiards and the piano were some of the other pastimes at the camp. They had completed a vegetable garden by the end on March 1944. In April 1944, the Welfare Officer was approached to provide several horses for more activities for the convalescents.

Patients and staff singing to an accordion
in the Airmen's Mess at No. 6 Convalescent Depot

In April 1944, work commenced on the refurbishment of a log cabin once used by the men of the 565th Signal Battalion who had previously manned a US Radar Station at Paluma. The log cabin had been used as their club house.  It was converted into a week-end hut for use by WAAAF or women visiting the Depot for concert parties and dances.

During May 1944, refurbishing a log cabin previously used by the
565th Signal Battalion, US Army, Leading Aircraftman Strudwick in foreground.

During April 1944, there were 70 patients at the camp. In May 1944, the Red Cross donated 330 Pounds to the unit to improve its recreational facilities. Also in May, modifications were made to seats in an ambulance to facilitate the transport of patients from Townsville. Some canvas chairs were mounted on a timber frame which could be slid into the area where the stretchers would normally go.

May 1944 - This is the insignia for 6 Convalescent Depot
featuring Donald Duck with a "Flying Tojo".
This was painted on all of the Depot's vehicles.

6 Convalescent Depot RAAF was renamed to 6 Medical Rehabilitation Unit (6MRU), RAAF in July 1944. In August the weekly picnics and sports days became very popular. More general and remedial PT and recreational games were introduced into the daily routine in September 1944. A large sports ground was cleared. A "summer house" was erected outside the Officers Mess. Before Christmas 1944, a swimming area 40 yards by 40 yards was formed in the nearby creek by damming part of the creek. It was approximately 2 yards deep.

May 1944, Standing outside the Commanding Officer's cottage "Conquest's Country
Club" Left to right: Depot Adjutant Flying Officer C. W. Connor, the CO Flight Lieutenant
James Conquest, Senior Sister Amanda Hansen and Pilot Officer A. A. O'Farrell.

 

Entrance to 6 Convalescent Depot RAAF in May 1944

Flight Lieutenant J.L. Sinclair took over as Commanding Officer on 1 December 1944. Patient numbers reduced significantly in July 1945. 

6 MRU was disbanded on 20 August 1945. Approximately 800 to 1,000 patients were looked after at the depot.

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This page first produced 12 June 2004

This page last updated 13 June 2004