AT SCHOOL DURING WWII
OUR LADYS MOUNT, STANTON HILL

 

The main school building at Our Lady's Mount in the 1940's

 

The 208th Coast Artillery Anti Aircraft Regiment, US Army setup a 3" heavy anti-aircraft battery and a Radar Set in the school grounds on about 15 March 1942. Other Heavy Batteries were established on the southern side of the mouth of Ross River and in a paddock at Oonoonba. Other light anti-aircraft batteries and search light stations were established at various locations around Townsville including on Pilot Hill near the harbour and at the South Townsville State School.

 

One of the four 3 inch guns of the 208th Coast Artillery (AA) Regiment can be seen on the parade ground of Our Lady's Mount Christian Brother's School on Stanton Hill in Townsville in 1942. The other three guns are probably under the camouflage which seems to cover the whole of the flat ground right out to where the Booker Building was built in later years.

You can see the roof of what appears to be the main school building at the far left of the photo and at the top right you can just make out Townsville Harbour and Cape Cleveland in the distance.

 

After the Americans left the school, they left behind a building which was subsequently used as a science block. They also left behind some Army surplus materials which were later sold.

 

SCHOOL HISTORY
AND ALL THIS SHALL BE ADDED

Catholic Education in Queensland
Volume VI, Chapter 7

ABOVE AND BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY
Page 53

Their confreres at Our Lady's Mount in Townsville had a strategic vantage point on the heights overlooking Cleveland Bay. There they had to contend with the installation, in March 1942, of a United States anti-aircraft battery in the school yard. While the schools were closed, the brothers trained as air-raid wardens ready for duty should the Japanese attack. Meanwhile discussions held about the feasibility of evacuating to Pentland, a small township west of Charters Towers, resulted in their staying in Townsville. There was uncertainty as to the numbers of boys who would be able to go and the costs involved. Our Lady's Mount was a day school.

Following the general evacuation of the north and the temporary closure of schools, the brothers re-opened on staggered hours with their enrolment greatly reduced from around 300 to about eighty, these being boys from grade six to senior. Not only did they have to endure disruptions caused by general air raid practice, but also the regular firing of the American gun in their own yard. Given prior warning of the event, brothers and boys took up their positions to hold down anything that could fall and break from the vibrations.

 

WWII Bunker Tour of Townsville

 

Anti-aircraft Batteries in the Townsville area during WW2

 

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This page first produced 25 April 1998

This page last updated 16 July 1998