Bathurst Region - Live, Visit, Invest, Study

Bathurst Army Camp

In 1940 an army camp was established on the outskirts of Bathurst where men ranging in age from 18 to 45 years were trained in preparation for active duty overseas in World War II.

The camp was originally intended to accommodate the 1st Armoured Division but nearby farmers opposed the idea as they could see tank manoeuvres would disturb their stock and damage the environment.

When the army heirarchy realised that tank exercises would be restricted it was decided that the camp would become an infantry training centre.

The camp was vast, holding about 5,000 troops who were housed in barracks made from galvanised iron. With no insulation in these buildings they froze in the winter and in summer had to put up with extreme heat.  Troops slept on palliasses (hessian bags stuffed with straw) and were issued with four grey army blankets - not nearly enough for a Bathurst winter so they often slept in as many articles of clothing that they could find. 

The camp closed in 1947 but the site was opened again in 1948 to house displaced people and refugees from Europe.   

Units that trained in Bathurst

7th Division: the first to be trained here, later becoming the 9th Division with battalions including the 2/13th & 2/17th Infantry as well as the 2/4th Tank Regiment.  Destination: The Middle East

8th Division: Some arrived in November 1940 including 2/18th, 2/19th & 2/20th Infantry, later joined by 2/26th, 2/29th & 2/30th.  Destination: Singapore