WHITE'S HILL SIGNALS SWITCHBOARD ROOM "BUNKER"
AND POSSIBLE SEARCHLIGHT BATTERY
WHITE'S HILL, BRISBANE, QLD, DURING WW2

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The Signals Unit of Fortress Brisbane, established a signals switchboard room "bunker" on the lower slopes of White's Hill in Brisbane, Queensland to communicate with the various Forts around Moreton Bay. The Fortress and Anti-aircraft signals went through this switchboard room. It is unclear of the exact location of this "bunker" in the White's Hill Reserve or whether it was a concrete or timber pole type "bunker".

The Australian Army also occupied an observation point on the high part of White's Hill in Brisbane during WWII. 

It is believed that the US Army's 94th Coast Artillery (AA) Regiment, 40th Anti-aircraft Brigade had a searchlight battery on White's Hill during WWII. The 94th Coast Artillery (AA) Regiment were in Brisbane from 29 March 1942 until 1 June 1942. An Australian Army Searchlight Battery then took over the site when the Americans moved out.

Students of Camp Hill High School would play in White's Hill bush land and knew of an American Base. Peter Beaumont, a former student of the school, told me that it was not uncommon for kids to come to school with old rusted American equipment including several Thompson sub-machine guns.

Judy Rechner told me that Old boys that she had  interviewed for her Camp Hill book told her that they tried to get into the camp but were always turned away. Some told of guns shooting at night. I have never had that verified. But at least 5 guys were adamant that there was a searchlight located on the hill. Judy was also told that after the war that they found military equipment on the hill, where now there are ovals and other facilities.

In September 1939, Brisbane's Air Raid Precautions Plans had nine evacuation camp sites. One of them was Jones' Road (White's Hill). The southern end of Jones Road runs directly into the White's Hill Reserve area. A total trial blackout of Brisbane was trialled on the evening of Sunday 17 August 1941. Official observers were stationed at Mt. Gravatt, White's Hill and Highgate Hill on the south side of Brisbane.

Max Muir from Camp Hill told me that on the eastern side of the reserve there is a high treeless hilltop covered with dense grass. After this area was burnt in a bush fire Max noticed lots of old thick slabs of semi intact reinforced concrete, bricks, and old glass shards. The hill over looks an old quarry, and has good views to the east and south. It is quite possible that they may have been part of the quarry infrastructure.

Exploring the White's Hill Reserve on the 1946 aerial photographs and Google Earth does not reveal anything that stands out as a possible camp location. I've highlighted two locations in the photos below that have some sort of unidentified landmarks. See the comments under each photo.

As part of a military recruiting drive a dummy "bombing raid" was made on Brisbane on Saturday night 25 November 1950. The "attacking force" was 3 Lincoln bombers, which swept in from Moreton Bay at 7pm. They were to remain in the target area until 7:45pm. The Lincolns were to fly up the Brisbane River and separate at Lone Pine for individual "bombing runs". Their "targets" were the Newstead oil storage tanks, Roma Street railway goods yards and the Indooroopilly rail and road bridges. More than 200 gunners of the 3rd Anti-aircraft and Searchlight Regiment (Brisbane and Southport) directed searchlights from different locations in Brisbane. Searchlights were operating on One Tree Hill, Eildon Hill, Centenary Park (Valley), White's Hill (Camp Hill), Chelmer, Yeronga Park, Stone's Corner, Hawthorne Park, Highgate Hill, Lang Park (Paddington), Ashgrove, and Albion Heights.

 

Located at the southern end of the reserve near the entrance to a
small quarry. Note there appear to be a number of vehicles parked
 in a flat area. Are they military vehicles? Or quarry vehicles?

 

The same location in 2012

 

Note the ellipse shaped cleared area in bottom right hand corner of the above
 1946 aerial photo. Appears to be a road or track encircling the area.
This appears to be the highest location so is probably a lookout area.

 

The same location in 2012. Has anyone been to this location?

 

 

Zooming right in on this location reveals a possible small building there.

 

Can anyone tell me any more about this location during WWII?

 

REFERENCES

Plans to Combat Air Raids - Risk Remote in Brisbane
The Courier Mail, Wednesday 6 September 1939, page 7

First Brisbane Black-out Success: Official View
The Courier Mail Monday 18 August 1941 Page 3

For Recruit Drive - Bomber "Raid" on City
The Courier Mail Tuesday 21 November 1950 Page 5

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Judy Rechner, Russell Miller and David Spethman for their assistance with this web page.

 

I need your help

Copyright

 Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 29 December 2006

This page last updated 08 December 2015