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Australian Link Directory  - Article Details

Balcombe Army Camp - Mount Martha - Historical Facts

Date Added: November 15, 2011 08:48:48 PM
Author: Narelle
Category: Society: History and reference

With the declaration of World War 2 in 1939, the Australian Army decided to use the Balcombe Estuary area at Mount Martha on the Mornington Peninsula as a training ground. In 1940 The Army 4th Division took over the area and including trainees, numbered about 3000 personnel. Late in 1940 the Commonwealth Government purchased 209 acres from the Graves, Ostberg and Henty Families to establish a permanent camp.

According to the book "To Kokoda and Beyond" many of the men stationed at Balcombe Army Camp volunteered to join the 39th Battalion which fought on the Kokoda Trail.

After the Pearl Harbour attack by the Japanese in 1941 the US used the Balcombe Camp for rest and rehabilitation of American servicemen and it became Headquarters for the 1st Division of the US Marine Corps in 1942. They carried out beach landing exercises near Martha Point, using the ship HMAS Manoora. The HMAS Manoora was built for the Adelaide Steamship Company in 1935 and was requisitioned by the Royal Australian Navy in 1939.

After World War II, in 1947, The Army Apprentice School was established at the Balcombe Camp Here they trained as plumbers, electricians, fitters and turners, mechanics and carpenters among other trades.

In 1982 The apprentices school was moved to northern Victoria and he area around Balcombe Reserve was turned into a housing estate and recreational park.

The original parade grounds is now the car park for Mace oval and a boardwalk has been built from the mouth of Balcombe creek to the oval.

For more fascinating historical facts, photos, and other information about the magnificent Mornington Peninsula, please visit us.

JJ Jones is an Historian and Travel Writer. He co-owns, a website dedicated to promoting the magnificent Mornington Peninsula and it's history. The Mornington Peninsula is a popular seaside holiday destination approximately 80km south of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia.

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