by Jack McKillop
Physical Description & History
Australia is a 2,967,909 square mile (7 686 850 square kilometer) continent lying between the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific Ocean. No formal territorial claims were made until 1770, when Captain James Cook took possession in the name of Great Britain. Six colonies were created in the late 18th and 19th centuries and they federated and became the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. It is estimated that the population of Australia in 1939 was a little less than seven million people.
The Australian government joined the United Kingdom in declaring war on Germany on 3 September 1939. The size and number of personnel of the Australian military on that date was:
During 1940 and 1941, the Australian Air Force, Army and Navy fought alongside the British in Crete, Greece, North Africa, Palestine and Syria. By 8 December 1941, Australian troops were also serving in Malaya, New Britain and New Ireland Islands in the Bismarck Archipelago, and in the Solomon Islands.
When the Japanese scored their initial successes in the Far East, the naval forces of the Allied powers retreated, fighting, through the Netherlands East Indies until they had fallen back to Australia. Refugee units and personnel from the U.S. Asiatic fleet began to arrive at northern and western Australian ports within a few weeks of the opening of the war.
The ensuing months showed a picture of considerable confusion. Cargo ships, carrying supplies to destinations which had fallen to the Japanese while they were en route, put in at Australian ports and were unloaded. The accumulation of such distress cargo created almost impossible problems of identification, storage, and protection, and much misdirection and loss of valuable material resulted. Gradually, however, storage space was found for the U.S. Navy (USN) material in Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne on the east coast and at Fremantle on the west.
The major concern, however, was the development of facilities in Australia which would permit that island continent to serve as a secure base to support naval and military counter offensives against the Japanese. In April 1942, immediately after the command areas in the South Pacific were redefined, a board consisting of American and Australian representatives was convened to determine base development requirements. It was understood from the beginning that Australia would provide the necessary construction labor and operating personnel and that the U.S. would be called on to supply only the materials and equipment that could not be obtained locally. Within a few weeks, plans had been formulated which appeared to satisfy the estimated requirements of the combined services and requests were forwarded to the U.S. for the materials and equipment which would not be available in Australia. Shipments were slow to arrive, however, and in the meanwhile the outcome of the battles of the Coral Sea and Midway had so changed the military situation that a thorough revision of the plans for base development was in order.
The general effect of the change was to shift major developments northward. The ports of Adelaide and Albany ceased to be important from a military standpoint, and Melbourne declined in importance as a center of activity after naval headquarters for Australia was moved to Brisbane in July 1942.
For the remainder of this first year of the war, work proceeded slowly on naval facilities, handicapped by Australia's severe manpower shortage. Base facilities for submarine maintenance and repair began in Brisbane and Fremantle; PT boat bases were developed at Cairns and Darwin; repair and maintenance facilities to service escort vessels were established at Sydney and Cairns; and naval air bases were developed at Brisbane, Perth, and on Palm Island, just northwest of Townsville. Moreover, a considerable amount of storage and supply space was obtained by lease of existing Australian facilities.
By the end of 1942, however, it was apparent that the shortage of manpower and materials in Australia was hampering the base-development program beyond the point of tolerance, and in January 1943 a request was made that USN Seabee battalion be assigned to expedite the construction work.
Between 1942 and 1945, the USN had 12 bases in Australia, eight in the eastern part of the country and four in the western part.
Albany, Advance Submarine Base
Albany (35°01'S, 117°53'E) is a port located on the southwestern coast of Western Australia about 240 miles (386 kilometers) south-southeast of Fremantle, Western Australia. In March 1942, the U.S. Navy had established a submarine base at Freemantle but the Navy feared that Fremantle would be attacked by the Japanese. As a result, the submarine tender USS Holland (AS-3) and Submarine Squadron Two (SubRon 2) moved to Albany in May 1942. In June 1942, Rear Admiral Charles A. Lockwood, Commander Submarines, Southwest Pacific, ordered tests of the Navy’s torpedoes be held at Albany which proved that they did not perform reliably.
With the danger to Freemantle lessened by August 1942, the submarines at Albany returned to Freemantle.
Brisbane, Advance Submarine Base, Naval Air Station, and Naval Operating Base
With a population of 370,460, Brisbane (27°30'S, 153°01'E) was a port and the capital of Queensland, located on the Brisbane River about 14 miles (22,5 kilometers) inland from the coast of northeastern Australia.
Operating bases in the Australian area for patrol and escort craft were needed to anchor the far end of the long supply line from the U.S. to the Southwest Pacific. Accordingly, it was directed early in the war that there be provided a base to support task forces, submarines, and escort craft in Brisbane. On 14 April 1942, the submarine tender USS Griffin (AS-13) arrived at New Farm Wharf in Brisbane from Panama to tend the old S-class submarines of Submarine Squadron Five (SubRon 5). The ships tied up at New Farm Wharf, where existing installations consisted principally of wharves and wool-storage sheds. In order to provide the necessary equipment for a naval supply depot, part of these facilities were rented and paid for under reverse Lend-Lease.
Shortly thereafter, a submarine supply and repair base was established; necessary facilities were rented or leased and renovated by Australian construction men to meet the U.S. Navy's (USN’s) needs. Although harbor facilities were limited, the base was eventually expanded until it became the largest U.S. naval base in continental Australia. Existing buildings and Australian materials and labor were used when available; however, some Seventh Fleet units brought with them prefabricated buildings which were set up by their own men or by the Seabees.
In July 1942, the USN’s Headquarters, Southwest Pacific Force (redesignated Seventh Fleet 19 February 1943) was established in Brisbane and a naval supply depot and a naval air station were built on the Brisbane River. On 15 January 1943, headquarters Amphibious Force, Southwest Pacific Area was organized in Brisbane and the NOB Brisbane was officially commissioned two days later. Construction continued and a mine depot, an ammunition depot, a Merchant Marine anti-aircraft training station and Mobile Hospital No. 9 were established and the facilities of the ship repair unit were expanded. Naval Air Station Brisbane was expanded until it consisted of two airfields and a seaplane base. By the summer of 1943, Brisbane was the chief supply point for the Seventh Fleet’s assault on eastern New Guinea. In late 1943, the training facilities for amphibious landings moved to Port Toorbul at Brisbane from Naval Advance Base Port Stephens (q.v.).
In addition to the projects already mentioned, the USN built an advance base construction depot, containing 90,000 square feet (8 361 square meters) of warehouse space and 53 acres (21 hectares) of open storage; established a naval magazine at the mine depot by erecting 52 storage huts, 20 by 50 feet (6 by 15 meters). At Hamilton, they renovated existing structures to give a ship-repair unit 5,000 square feet (465 square meters) of shop space, and built a wharf, 40 by 130 feet (12 by 40 meters).
Mobile Hospital 9 arrived at Brisbane with sufficient prefabricated buildings to set up 500 beds; it was later expanded to accommodate 1,000 beds, and subsequently 3,000. All buildings were of prefabricated metal, with the exception of a storehouse, theater recreation building, laundry, a sewage pumphouse, and the power plant.
No air strips had to be built, for the local airport at Archerfield (27°34'13S, 153°00'29E) was made available, and air strips built for the U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) at Eagle Farm (27°23'03S, 153° 07'03E) (now Brisbane International Airport) were also used by USN planes. In addition to 100,000 square feet (9 290 square meters) of existing plane-parking areas, 192,000 square feet (17 837 square meters) and 180,000 square feet (16 723 meters) were added to Archerfield and Eagle Farm, respectively. Repair shops and a parachute tower were erected, and two hangars, 248 by 100 feet each (76 by 30 meters), which had been built for the USAAF, were turned over to the USN. Leave areas, accommodating 250 men each, were built for naval personnel at Toowoomba (27°33'S, 151°58'E), 65 miles (105 kilometers) west of Brisbane, and at Coolangatta (28°10'S, 153°31'E), on the coast, 58 miles (93 kilometers) south-southeast of Brisbane.
Local labor and materials were used almost exclusively. Australian labor also built Hamilton Seaplane Base (27°26'57"S, 153°05'44"E) on the south bank of the Brisbane River about 3 miles (4,8 kilometers) below the city. The existing finger pier was utilized, with barges attached at the outer end to facilitate loading and unloading operations. All station personnel and plane crews were quartered at this site.
As the war moved north in 1944, many of the facilities were closed. The first major installation to be discontinued was the mine assembly depot, which was dismantled and crated in January 1944. The moving of Seventh Fleet headquarters to Hollandia, Dutch New Guinea (now Indonesia), prior to the Philippines campaign, greatly decreased activities in Brisbane and the submarine base was closed in March 1945 but NOB Brisbane remained open until 14 January 1946 when the base was disestablished and many of the facilities were returned to the Australians.
Cairns, Naval Advance Base
Cairns (16°55'S, 145°46'E) was a small port on Trinity Bay in the state of Queensland in northeastern Australia located about 860 miles (1 384 kilometers) northwest of Brisbane. The naval base was planned to provide logistic support and hospital facilities to serve advance bases and operational forces afloat. Much of the flat coastal area along the bay is mangrove swamp, requiring considerable fill to make it usable for construction purposes. By dredging, the harbor was kept at a depth of 22 feet (6,7 meters).
In December 1942, a motor torpedo (PT) boat engine overhaul base was established at Cairns. In late spring 1943, an escort vessel and landing craft repair base was established and Cairns was formally established as a naval base on 20 November 1943.
In October 1943, the PT boat engine overhaul base departed for New Guinea. In early 1944, Escort Base One was set up for destroyer repair, mine maintenance, patrol craft repair headquarters, and supply. Construction began on a galley and mess hall for 1,000 men, hospital facilities with complete installations for 50 patients, administration and operational facilities, all necessary buildings for radar and repair, ships' stores, fleet post office, storage and base roads. In addition, two floating dry docks, Mobile Floating Drydock Number 10 (AFD-10) and Auxiliary Repair Dry Dock Number 7 (ARD-7), arrived for destroyer work.
Ninety days were required for the initial development of Cairns, completion date being 1 January 1944. Major obstacles were poor drainage and unstable material for structures and roads. These were overcome by using disintegrated granite as fill, installing culverts, grading, and ditching. Development beyond the original plans included construction of a 40-ton (36,3 metric tonne) floating drydock, a 600-foot (183 meter) timber wharf, and four 5,000 U.S. gallon (4,163 Imperial gallon or 18 927 liter) water tanks.
Another project begun in January 1944 was the construction of ammunition-storage facilities. At the dump site, 7 miles (11 kilometers) inland from the main base, the USN Seabees set up 18 prefabricated ammunition-storage huts, a frame barrack, and all other necessary camp facilities, which were completed on 19 March 1944. The Seabees also assisted U.S. Army Engineers in the construction of a large Army operating base, which included a drainage project, power plant, railroad, camp sites, and other facilities.
The naval base was used extensively for repair of all types of small craft and destroyers. During the construction period, as well as upon completion, the base was taxed to capacity. Roll up of the base began in late 1944 and by 7 January 1945, all usable material had been sent to forward areas. The base was disestablished on 21 March 1945.
Darwin, Naval Advance Base
Darwin (12° 28' S, 130° 49' E), Northern Territory, with a population of 3,000, was the most northerly deep water port in northern Australia. Before the U.S. entry in the war, Darwin had no industries, serving only as a port of call for coastwise shipping and as a base for pearling luggers. A civil airfield and a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) airfield on the other side of the strait provided air facilities. The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) also had a base here.
In December 1941, the U.S. Navy’s (USN’s) Chief of Naval Operations selected it as a base to service the U.S. Asiatic Fleet. By 1942, a number of auxiliary vessels had arrived at Darwin to support the main Asiatic Fleet base at Surabaya, Java, Netherlands East Indies (now Indonesia). Late in January 1942, a decision was made to base naval units in Western Australia and during a Japanese air attack on Darwin on 19 February 1942, eight ships were sunk, the USN destroyer USS Peary (DD-226), the U.S. Army transport USAT Meigs, two Australian passenger ships, MV Neptuna and SS Zealandia, RAN patrol boat HMAS Mavie, U.S. freighter SS Mauna Loa, British refuelling oiler SS British Motorist and coal storage hulk Kelat. Among the ships damaged but not destroyed was the RAN hospital ship, AHS Manunda. The U.S. Army Air Forces (USAAF) lost ten Curtiss P-40 fighters, one Consolidated B-24 Liberator bomber, and three Beech C-45 Expeditor transports. The USN lost three Consolidated PBY Catalina flying boats, and moorers outside the harbor while the RAAF lost six Lockheed Hudsons. As a result of this raid, the USN abandoned their base but RAAF and USAAF units remained there.
In the spring of 1943, Motor Torpedo Boat Base Ten was established at Darwin to support motor torpedo (PT) boats in the 93 mile (150 kilometer) Torres Strait located between Cape York, Queensland, and New Guinea. PT boats never operated from Darwin and the base serviced aircraft and light craft. In order to fulfill an agreement with the Australian government, whereby the USN was to supply mines to the RAAF operating out of Darwin, a mine depot was established there in the summer of 1943. At the same time, an advanced submarine base was established to refuel mid-patrol submarines.
In August 1943, work began on the construction of a 500-foot (152 meter) PT-boat slip, and shortly thereafter a Quonset warehouse. Existing facilities proved to be inadequate so hotels and private residences were renovated and used as quarters, and existing stores and warehouses were utilized, overflow space being provided with tents and new construction. Commissioning of this naval advance base took place on 21 November 1943.
In January 1944, work was commenced on 12 magazine huts, with a detonator locker, in the magazine area on Frances Bay, just south of the RAAF field. This construction, augmented by a warehouse and an assembly shed, was completed by 6 April. During January 1945, the Seabees also built a base camp, consisting of 22 huts, supply tents, and accompanying accommodations. A radio unit with necessary equipment and three Quonset huts were set up at Adelaide River, 77 (124 kilometers) miles south of Darwin.
The base continued to service submarines until the spring of 1945 when the subs moved to the Philippine Islands. Operations at NAB Darwin ceased after 31 July 1945.
Exmouth Gulf, Naval Section Base
Exmouth Gulf (22°24'S, 114°16'E) is an inlet of the Indian Ocean in Western Australia, located about 657 miles (1 057 kilometers) north of Perth. The inlet is 55 miles (89 kilometers) long north to south and 30 miles (48 kilometers) across the mouth and has a maximum depth of 72 feet (22 meters).
The base was first established in March 1942 at the southern end of the gulf as an emergency refueling point for ships evacuating the Netherlands East Indies (now Indonesia). In the summer of 1942 it was decided to establish an advanced submarine base there to refuel subs and a small force was sent there in late 1942. The base was formally commissioned on 10 April 1943. In May 1943, the submarine tender USS Pelias (AS-14) arrived to operate the base. After two Japanese raids on Exmouth Gulf on 20 and 21 May 1943, the USN decided to abandon the section base and move south to Fremantle. The base reverted to a refueling station until it was closed on 19 July 1945.
Fremantle, Naval Advance Base
Fremantle (32° 2' S, 115° 46' E) is a city on the Indian Ocean in Western Australia, located 10 miles (16 kilometers) southwest of Perth.
Before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the US Navy's Asiatic submarine fleet, consisting of 29 submarines, had been based in the Philippine Islands along with three cruisers, 14 destroyers, submarine tender USS Holland (AS-3) and a numbers of smaller vessels. When the war started, the Japanese bombed the Naval Base at Cavite on Luzon quite extensively. Six of the old S-class and some of the fleet class submarines and USS Holland were ordered to Java, Netherlands East Indies (now Indonesia). As the Japanese moved along the islands, USS Holland was ordered to Fremantle. The Navy leased two large wheat loading sheds on the wharf; both were 800 feet (244 meters) long and 50 feet (15 meters) wide making them very suitable for their submarine workshop space. The area was also serviced by a railway line which was ideal for their operation.
This base serviced submarines for the rest of the war until being disestablished on 15 January 1946. In 1943, a floating drydock arrived and by 1944, upwards of 30 fleet submarines were based at Fremantle. By June 1945, the base tank farms stored 700,000 barrels of fuel oil and 206,000 barrels of diesel oil.
Mackay, Advance Naval Base
Mackay (21°08 S, 149°11'E) is a small port on the Pioneer River on the eastern coast of Queensland, about 497 miles (800 kilometers) north-northwest of Brisbane and 366 miles (589 kilometers) southeast of Cairns. In March 1943, a small landing craft depot was activated for the U.S. Seventh Fleet. It helped stage operations in New Guinea until the facilities were shipped north in February 1944.
Palm Island, Naval Advance Air Base
Palm Island (18̊45'S, 146̊35'E) is within the Great Barrier Reef and is located 37 miles (59 kilometers) north-northwest of Townsville, Queensland and 19 miles (30 kilometers) off the coast of Australia. This triangularly shaped, 25 square mile (64 square kilometer) island is the largest of several closely grouped small islands. With the exception of a few small areas, the island terrain is rugged from the water's edge.
In late 1942, the U.S. Navy oiler USS Victoria (AO-46) sailed from Sydney, New South Wales, on 18 November 1942 with a cargo of Navy special fuel. She joined a convoy of merchantmen, and after a brief visit to Brisbane, Queensland on 21 November, she got underway in convoy for Townsville on 22 November. She reached Cleveland Bay, where she commenced fueling Allied warships and moved to Challenger Bay on Palm Island on 3 December 1942 to continue her refueling operations. She subsequently alternated her operations between Challenger Bay and Dunk Island Harbor before returning to Brisbane on Christmas Eve 1942. The oiler returned to Townsville between 4 and 8 January 1943 and remained in Townsville for three days and moved back to Challenger Bay, Palm Island.
The island was selected as a naval air station with facilities for the operating and overhauling of patrol bombers, primarily Consolidated PBY Catalinas, and on 6 July 1943, Navy Seabees landed on the island to construct the air station. The air station was built at Wallaby Point, an isolated area on the northwest coast of Palm Island, overlooking a large stretch of sheltered water in Challenger Bay, which was ideal for flying boat operations. No local labor and little native material were used, but coral aggregate for concrete was obtained and the entire 1,500 tons (1 361 metric tonnes) moved to Palm Island by such small craft as became available. Concrete surfaced seaplane ramps and a seaplane parking area large enough for 12 planes were constructed. Three nose hangars were built, and moorings for 18 planes were provided in the bay. A tank farm with a capacity of 60,000 barrels of aviation gasoline was constructed, using 2,000 feet (610 meters) of shore pipeline and 1,200 feet (366 meters) of submarine pipeline. All buildings were wood frame. Housing and operational facilities were fully utilized from 25 October 1943, to 1 May 1944, with an average of four planes per day repaired.
Closure of this base began on 1 June 1944 and the facilities were disassembled for movement to northern bases and the base was disestablished in July 1944.
Port Stephens, Naval Advance Base
Approval was granted by the Australian War Cabinet to establish HMAS Assault, a Royal Australian Naval Training Centre, in the Port Stephens area of New South Wales (NSW). Port Stephens (32̊43'S, 152̊10'E) is located on a large natural harbor about 98 miles (158 kilometers) north-northeast of Sydney, NSW. The site was chosen after an aerial inspection in June 1942 because it was a safe haven from the Japanese submarine activity occurring off the east coast of Australia and because the locality was mostly a small isolated fishing village. The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) armed merchant cruiser HMAS Westralia (F 95) arrived on 3 September 1942 to provide interim accommodation until HMAS Assault was completed. HMAS Assault was used to train landing craft crews, beach parties and signal teams.
On 1 March 1943, the Joint Overseas Operational Training School (JOOTS) at Nelson Bay was set up to handle courses for officers and men of the Australian and U.S. Armed Forces using HMAS Assault as its base. NAB Port Stephens was established at the same time. The bays and beaches of Port Stephens provided training for 2,000 Australian and 20,000 U.S. ship-to-shore invasion specialists. It was in this area that the three armed services co-ordinated their training efforts. RAN landing ships, infantry (LSI), HMAS Westralia, Manoora and Kanimbla, and the USN attack transport USS Henry T Allen (APA-15) were involved in landings under simulated invasion conditions in readiness for the amphibious invasions of Dutch New Guinea; Tarakan and Balikpan in Borneo; as well as the Leyte and Lingayan invasions in the Philippines.
As the front line moved closer to Japan, training facilities were transferred to Port Toorbul at Brisbane, Queensland and the Amphibious Training Centre was closed on 12 October 1943. In October 1943, there were 141 ships and landing craft (including thirteen Australian built) based at Port Stephens. Thirty six of these ships were controlled by HMAS Assault and 105 by the USN. The NAB remained open as an amphibious equipment depot until September 1944.
Sydney, Naval Operating Base
Sydney (33°52'S, 151°13'E), the capital of New South Wales, was a modern, well-developed city with a population of 1.25 million, provided a major repair base, an operations and maintenance base for escort craft, and a major port of debarkation. Sydney had a Royal Australian Navy (RAN) base with excellent harbor facilities.
NOB Sydney was established on 1 February 1942. Destroyer tender USS Dobbin (AD-3) arrived in March 1942 to tend ships and she was one of several Allied vessels located in Sydney Harbor during the Japanese midget submarine attack of 31 May 1942. By early 1943, this base became an assembly facility for tank landing ships (LSTs), landing craft, infantry (LCIs) and landing craft, mechanized (LCMs).
In the summer of 1943, U.S. naval facilities at Sydney, consisting of a supply depot, an ammunition depot, and Base Hospital 10, were constructed by civilian contractors, under the auspices of the Australian Allied Works Council, on reverse Lend-Lease. Storehouses for the supply depot were constructed of standard Australian wood-frame buildings and by rental of existing space. For the ammunition depot, 20 concrete magazines, 25 by 50 feet (7,6 by 15 meters), and two 30 by 100-foot (9,1 by 30 meter) units were erected. Base Hospital 10 occupied a small civilian hospital, which was augmented by standard barracks, ward buildings, an operating center, galley and mess hall. The normal capacity of the hospital was 200 beds, with a maximum emergency accommodation of 500 beds.
Commercial port facilities were used. The Australian government had under construction during 1943 and 1944 a graving dock, 1,094 feet (333 meters) long and 140 feet (43 meters) wide, with a depth of 40.5 feet (12 meters). Facilities ashore were simultaneously developed equivalent to those of a destroyer tender.
By July 1944, plans had been formulated for the elimination and reduction of our naval facilities at Sydney, with the exception of the ammunition depot, at the earliest practicable date. The base was disestablished on 5 December 1945.
Thursday Island, Naval Advance Base
Thursday Island (10°35'S, 142°13'E) is a 1.4 square mile (3,5 square kilometer) island in the Torres Strait about 24 miles (39 kilometers) north of Cape York Peninsula, Queensland and 635 miles (1 086 kilometers) north-northwest of Townsville, Queensland. Torres Strait is the body of water which lies between Australia and Papua New Guinea. Thursday Island is separated from Horn Island, the site of a Royal Australian Air Force airfield by a 1.3 mile (2,3 kilometer) body of water.
During World War II, Thursday Island became the military headquarters for the Torres Strait and was a base for Australian and U.S. forces. During the Allied campaign in Papua New Guinea, it was feared that the Japanese might attempt to cross the Torres Strait and land on the York Peninsula, the Gulf of Carpentaria or even at Darwin, Northern Territory.
In April 1943, U.S. Army construction units landed on the island to build an airfield that could be used as a refueling stop between Australia and New Guinea. Between May and July 1943, Motor Torpedo Boat (PT boat) Squadron 7 (MTBRon 7) was based on this island and patrolled Torres Strait. A small naval air center was established on the island and operated there until July 1944, which all Navy personnel were transferred to other facilities.
Townsville, Naval Advance Base
Townsville (19°15'S, 146°48'E) was a city on the northeastern coast of Queensland with a population of 25,000 people; it was also a Royal Australian Navy station. During World War II, the city was host to over 50,000 American and Australian troops and air crew, and it became a major staging point for battles in the Southwest Pacific. A large United States Armed Forces contingent supported the war effort from seven airfields and other bases around the city and in the region. Within the town a great deal of construction occurred during the war. Apart from rebuilding the air base, the American forces converted several of the main roads to use as taxiways and subsidiary airstrips, and maintenance workshops were built along these roadways.
The U.S. Navy built a section base to service convoy and combatant ships operating in the forward areas of the Solomon Islands and New Guinea. Land was acquired rent free, from the Townsville Town Council, for the site of a fleet post office, and a frame building, occupied in the middle of April 1943; they were built entirely by Australian labor.
A naval magazine, 4 miles (6,4 kilometers) west of Townsville, was completed 23 August 1943. It consisted of four prefabricated magazine huts and two wooden frame buildings for barracks and a mess hall. Local labor and some local materials were used. A 120 bed hospital, consisting of a group of Quonset huts, was begun 22 October 1943 on the shores of Rose Bay, near Townsville, and was operative by 20 December 1943. Construction of a second hospital began in November on a site 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of the city. This hospital, also consisting of Quonset huts, had a capacity of 100 beds.
The base remained in operation until July 1944, when it was dismantled it and crated for shipment to a forward area.