A large area in and around Wacol – which was nearly all bush land at that time – was selected as its major staging camp for the US Army in the South West Pacific. Here weapons, ammunition and equipment in transit were assembled or processed. A range of military facilities were build in the area which were all managed from the headquarters at Camp Columbia.
Part of what became Camp Columbia – close to Brisbane River – was already since 1940 used by the units from the nearby Redbank Camp of the Australian Army for Bren Gun manoeuvres.
The site was selected because it had large government reserves and was close to the Wacol railway station. The aging and poorly maintained railways system became the major transport corridor to the northern parts of Australia for the supply of bombs to the various airports that were set up by the American forces. Often thousands of bombs were stored in the railway yard waiting to be transported north.
The top of a hill along Wacol Station Road was earmarked for the Camp’s headquarters. This comprised administrative offices, barracks, accommodation huts and an internal road network.
Below is a map – prior to 1942 – of what would become Camp Columbia.