Camp Darra Ordnance Depot

Camp Darra Ordnance Depot

Stage Number: MBSH.05.08.01

Group: Western

Local Study Area: Ellen Grove-Forest Lake- Heathwood

Epoch: Early 20th Century

Street Address: Forest Lake

Latitude & Longitude: -27.60976389,152.96155556

Time Link: 1943

Map Link: 1946

Image Time Point: 1946

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From 1942-47, the Darra Ordnance Ammunition Depot covered much of what is now Forest Lake and some of Inala. It was one of the largest US munitions depots in the South West Pacific. It stored bombs and ammunition in numerous clearings in the bush, and supplied munitions to the armed services largely via Wacol Station. Two hundred African-American soldiers worked at the Depot under white officers. All US personnel lived off-site, in barracks at nearby ‘Camp Darra’, 1 km away from ordnance depot. The Depot guards were Australian civilians – Brisbane men who had to supply their own horses. These mounted guards patrolled the 21-mile (34km) perimeter fire break. Most stayed in big American tents at the Homestead site; stables for their horses were by the mango trees; their mess was a big P1 hut (the standard Army hut).

The Americans moved out in 1945, and the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) took over and continued clearing the area of remaining munitions. However, the Darra Ordnance Ammunition Depot remained potentially dangerous; there was an explosion in 1947, and in 1954 two Inala boys were killed by a UXO (Unexploded Ordnance).


Queensland Government, Queensland World War II Historic Places, ‘Darra USAAF and RAN Ordnance Ammunition Depot’ (, 1 August 2017.

Image Citations

Vicki Mynott, ‘Before Forest Lake’, Inala Heights: Richlands, Inala & Suburbs History Group, 2017; Oz@War, ‘Darra Ordnance Depot in 1945’, (, sighted 31 July 2017.

Map References

Qimagery. Brisbane City Council Series 1946. Scale: 1:15,900.