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Typical Wacol Army Barracks Accommodation Buildings
Former Wacol Army Base

Wacol Main Page
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Wacol Barracks Buildings
Wacol Entrances & Gates
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Wacol Messes & Clubs
Wacol Pistol Range
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Wacol Vsitors Memories

Originally opened in 1942 during World War II as the US Army's Camp Columbia, the Wacol Army Barracks in the western suburbs of Brisbane. It was, at least temporarily, the home for tens of thousands of transient American and Australian service men and women until its closure in 2000. It also served as a transit centre for displaced persons and refugees resulting from the world upheavals during and after WW2.

I spent a little time there myself during my time as an Intelligence Officer in the RAAF, helping the Army's 1 Division Intelligence Company conduct interrogation training in 1990-1991 on poor military victims when they least expected it! There is a family link as well as my father was recruited into the army and subsequently discharged from here during WW2.

The base site is in the middle of various industrial parks and without doubt the land will eventually be converted to that purpose. The text of a 2004 news article began "February 27, 2004 THE defence department is preparing to sell one of the most strategic land parcels in Brisbane, the 107ha Wacol Army Barracks. Commercial real estate agencies are expected to compete for the business of marketing the land, which could fetch more than $30 million. It is understood the army, which owns the land between Brisbane and Ipswich, wants the disused barracks disposed of...." At the moment, some buildings have been completely demolished and removed and virtually all have been at least partly disassembled, some more than others. A secion of the base has been preserved as a National Service Heritage Precinct (see below) and is fenced off from the derelict area.

Nonetheless, there is still plenty to see, although I couldn't find places such as the Communications Centre, Base Lockup etc - perhaps these have already been demolished or I just didn't recognise what I was seeing. I hope that the photos below are enjoyed as a "blast from the past" by other ex-servicemen with a link to Wacol (both Australian, American and and any others), or anyone else who may have passed through here.

Here are some links to further information about the Wacol base:

I have used my service esperience and intelligence background to try and analyse the function of the buildings in the photos, therefore these may be dodgy! If you have any more information, corrections or clarification or just plain old comments about this site I would love to hear from you by email or in my Visitor's Book.

Click on any of the photos to see a larger version and then click on your browser's "back:" arrow to return to this page.


Invisible Building

The latest in army camouflage - invisible buildings! While most buildings are still in place, a number are gone. As I said above, I couldn't find places like the Communications Centre and base jail.

Transport Compound

The old transport compound is still locked up tight but is starting to show signs of deterioration.

Electric Polisher Scrubber Pad

Found this in an old storage building and it sure brought back the memories of being a radio trainee at RAAF Laverton in Melbourne. This is a scouring pad used under a rotary floor polishing machine to strip off polish from vinyl floors - ah the good old days! Anyone who spent time in the Australian military at an enlisted rank will recognise this type of pad.

Parade Ground

The old parade ground is becoming a bit overgrown but still has a line of pencil pines along one side, and the Reviewing Officers station with its little chain link fence can still be seen.

Petrol Bowser

The old petrol bowser is showing a bit of wear and tear!

Rope Noose

I always heard that army discipline was tough but I hope this noose isn't representative!!.

Heritage Precinct

A portion of the old base has been preserved as a National Service Heritage Precinct. The area is fenced off very efficiently and the buildings are in a state much more as I remember them from the early 1990s.

Wacol - Heritage Precinct Guard Dog

This ferocious guard dog in the National Service Heritage Precinct nearly threw itself on the ground because it was wagging its tail so hard!!

Wacol - Building Ready For Removal

Not all the buildings are being demolished on the old Wacol base; some are sold and being removed like this one, while others are being renovated (see the "Renovated" page for more information on this unexpected but happy development.

Wacol - Base Chapel

The old base chapel is still in pretty good condition, although everything of interest has been stripped out, although....

Wacol - Base Chapel Squatters Bed

....a homeless person has somehow found a pink bed and set up a cosy home here.

Wacol - Rusted Drain Cover

The gentle art of Urban Exploration is not totally without its dangers, this rusted out metal drain cover was hidden by long grass and dirt....

Wacol - Rusted Drain Cover Location

....just beyond the toy tip truck in this photo. The water underneath is black and bubbling... Hmm, wouldn't you just love to plunge your foot into it!

Wacol - Petrol Bowsers

We found another set of old petrol bowsers not far east of the old Chapel, not far from the retained Heritage Area.

Wacol - PT Course

A PT course was in place near the bridge across the creek dividing the east and west halves of the base.


Please feel free to contact me with your feedback or comments, especially any extra background or information you may be able to provide, and while you're here why not sign my guest book so I know you've been visiting.

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Last Updated: 4 October 2013