Constructing the Tocumwal air force base.

Like many others Stanley Mawston (Bluey) Forster went to join up in 1942. Because of his building qualifications and ability to read plans - blueprints as they were referred to in those days - he was seconded to the Dept of the Interior. His was to be a different kind of war.

Stan arrived in Tocumwal by train with troops and personnel like himself, late one Saturday afternoon. After a twenty two hour train ride to what felt like the ends of the earth all he and his travelling companions could think of was a long cold beer. After spending most of his life on the coast of NSW he found this flat, dry and seemingly barren country a vast contrast to the lush coast that he had been used to.

The men were housed in tents on the 'drome and worked daylight to dark. They were mainly men of the 3Cs - Civil Construction Corps - and Stan was foreman on the cook house and picture theatre as well as the houses.

Initially in Tocumwal for 10-12 weeks, the majority of the men were then sent on to Amberly air force base. After his release from the Dept of the Interior Stan returned to Tocumwal and worked as a builder in the town and district until he accepted the position of caretaker in 1957 at the aerodrome. A small contingent of officers and enlisted men were still stationed there until 1964 and on their departure, Stan moved into a residence on site. At this time all remaining fixtures and buildings on the 'drome were sold or removed.

Stan had bought the house that he and his family moved into in 1964 and spent his spare time renovating it with the view of moving it into town to retire in. After the completion and refit he chose to sell and return to Wollongong and the family home they had left behind twenty seven years before.

Judy Carlon, Tocumwal Historical Society (contributed 1996)

Stories

•  The Tocumwal air force base

•  Constructing the Tocumwal air force base

Story Index | Image Gallery

The Tocumwal Archive was first developed by Mary Hutchison and Katherine Pepper with the support of
PhotoAccess and funds from the ACT Government through its Heritage Council.

Page design and construction by Adrian Redman