CAMP STRATHPINE
IN BRISBANE

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visits since 18 October 2000

 

The 1st Cavalry Division, United States Army arrived at Camp Strathpine in July 1943. After some jungle and amphibious training at Toorbul Point north of Brisbane and Port Stephens in northern New South Wales they left Camp Strathpine for New Guinea in December 1943. The 1st Cavalry Division comprised 15,000 men so the tiny locality of Pine Rivers which comprised a population of approximately 4,800 people was totally overwhelmed by the arrival of the Americans.

The Australian 7th Division, 2nd AIF also camped at Camp Strathpine during WW2.

Camp Strathpine was divided into six main areas:-

Area 1 - Divisional Headquarters located at Joyner, bordered by One Mile Creek, Swift Drive (Samsonvale Road) and Pershing Drive

Area 2  - The map below suggests that this was occupied by the 1st Infantry Regiment. David Spethman who has researched Camp Strathpine believes the following units were housed in Area 2:-

- Military Police Platoon (prison stockade area)
- 302nd Reconnaissance Troop (Mechanised)
- 7th Reconnaissance Squadron
- 603rd Medium Tank Company (formerly the light Tank Company prior to 3 Dec 43)
- 16th Quartermaster Squadron

Area 3 - Regimental tented camp area for:-

    1st Cavalry Brigade HHT
          - 5th Cavalry Regiment
          - 12th Cavalry Regiment

Area 4 - Regimental tented camp area for:-

   2nd Cavalry Brigade HHT
          - 7th Cavalry Regiment (Infantry)
          - 8th Cavalry Regiment (Infantry)

Area 5 - Artillery Area - This area is now known as French's Forrest Estate at Petrie. The area was used by:-

            1st Cavalry Division Artillery HBB
                    - 61st Field Artillery Battalion (75mm)
                    - 82nd Field Artillery Battalion (75mm)
                    - 99th Field Artillery Battalion (105mm)
                    - 271st Field Artillery Battalion (105mm)

Area 6 - Water pumping station at Young's Crossing and quarters for the Civil Construction Corps workers.

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Military Activity 1940 - 1945

Strathpine - Petrie area

 

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Huts used by the 1st Cavalry Division, United States Army

 

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Huts used by the 1st Cavalry Division, United States Army

 

The 1st Cavalry Division's artillery units did live firing on a firing range at Flinders on Clear Mountain. Much unexploded Ordnance (UXO) has been found in these areas over the years, particularly as the land is developed for housing estates. Two live practice grenade ranges were located at Cashmere, one to the east of Four Mile Creek next to Area 3 and the other to the north of Winn Road. Two mortar ranges were located at Cashmere, one range being near One Mile Creek, just to the south of today's Ira Buckby Road West and the other across both sides of Winn Road. The target area was immediately to the south of the firing ranges. Both 60mm and 81mm mortars were used.

There were two infantry assault courses in the area, one being near the intersection of Forrest Road and Howze Road west of Area 4. General Infantry training and compass exercises were carried out near Samsonvale township and as far away as Samford, Whiteside and to the north of Petrie.

Some Sioux Indians were part of the Lakota Code Talkers in the 302nd Reconnaissance Troop (Mechanised) who were trained at Camp Strathpine. They were established at General Douglas MacArthur's direction possibly by a Lieutenant Hobbs. John BearKing was one of the members of the Lakota Code Talkers. (can anyone help me with more information on this unit?)

 


Photo:- via Mike Burke

Edward Burke on a Pole Bridge at Camp Strathpine

 

Edward Burke of the 1st US Cavalry was one of the many men stationed at Camp Strathpine during the early part of the war. Edward indicated he enjoyed his time at the camp. He spoke every now and then about doing something with the Native American soldiers but his son Mike believes this was just routine duties around camp. Edward Burke passed away in 1990. He never spoke much about the war and always said that there were a lot of other guys that had it a lot harder than he did.

On 13 July 1944, 73 AASL moved back to Australia to Strathpine and became part of 2/2 Australian Composite Ack Ack Regiment. After some leave, the 73rd Ack Ack Searchlights Battery stayed for a short while at Toorbul Point and then moved back to Strathpine. The majority of the 73rd then moved to the jungle training school at Canungra in southern Queensland.

 

Military Units at Strathpine, QLD during WW2

 

Petrie - Strathpine Airfields

 

Can you help me with more information on
Camp Strathpine?

 

REFERENCE BOOKS

"I Remember ...  Recollections of Pine Rivers Shire during World War Two"
by Nicola Geeson

"Divisional Camp - Strathpine 1943-1945"
"U.S. 1st Cavalry Division
"Australian 7th Division (2nd A.I.F.)"
by Dave Spethman & Russell Miller

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Mike Burke for his assistance with this web page.

 

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Copyright

 Peter Dunn 2003

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This page first produced 18 October 2000

This page last updated 08 June 2009