Camp Darley

The 49th Fighter Group of the 5th Air Force arrived in Melbourne on the USAT Mariposa on 1 February 1942. They had been escorted to Australia by the light cruiser USS Phoenix.

 

They dropped anchor in Melbourne harbor at1700 hrs on 1 February 1942. On 2 February 1942 moved to Camp Darley. Unloading of the ship was completed by 10 February 1942.

 

Some stayed at the Camp until 12 Feb. 1942.  The 7th Squadron marched to Baccus Marsh. The heavy equipment followed  later. Baccus Marsh, (previously owned by the Wakefield family) was  once the nurses quarters of the camp. Bob Prewett described the area where
Camp Darley is located. It's in in the growing suburb of Baccus Marsh, about 52km west of Melbourne half way between Ballarat and Melbourne. In WWII it was a few miles north.

 

On 14 February 1942, the 9th Pursuit Squadron of the 49th Fighter Group of the 5th Air Force arrived in Melbourne on the USAT Mariposa on 1 February 1942. They had been escorted to Australia by the light cruiser USS Phoenix.

 

They dropped anchor in Melbourne harbor at 1700 hrs on 1 February 1942. On 2 February 1942 moved to Camp Darley. Unloading  of the ship was completed by 10 February 1942.

 

On 14 February 1942, the 9th Pursuit Squadron, of the 49th Fighter Group, under the command of Captain Selman, moved by train from Camp Darley, to Williamtown airfield near
Newcastle in New South Wales, just west of town. The Camp held many Dutch, American and Australian forces, who trained there prior to embarkation. Many Dutch and American soldiers married local girls and families still live around the Bacchus Marsh area.

 

Only concrete foundations are left of all the buildings and some evidence of the road network. In the 1950's regular motor cycle races were held around the camp streets...

 

Regularly there are articles in local papers of families whose parents met at wartime dances. Even into the 1970s, the area was still  listed as a military training area for CMF training. It was also a military  training area for map reading and navigation exercises during the
Korean war period also with maps of the area being printed with Korean name spellings eg  such as Kweilin. Graeme Jamieson said that Camp Darley,  was  also used as a POW camp during WWII.

 

Only concrete foundations are left of all the buildings and some evidence of the road network. In the 1950's regular motor cycle races were held around the camp streets... (to be continued)

 



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