Veteran Community Home Base

The Design Concept

Townsville’s WWII Heritage


Townsville is important to Australia and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) for many reasons, especially for its influence on the region to the north and east of Australia. Of particular significance is the access afforded to Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the South-West Pacific. Since the mid-1800’s Townsville has been important as a defence location. Its importance was recognised particularly prominently during World War II.

Townsville was central to the Allied effort in World War II (WWII). Townsville served as a forward operating base for combat operations in the region and a mounting base for forward deployment to PNG and the South-West Pacific. Some of the most prominent WWII military impressions made on the city derive from the stationed US 5th Air Force and other infrastructure intended to defend the city and surrounding areas.

The Village in Oonoonba 

Street Names in The Village significant also.

The present-day site of The Oasis Townsville’s Veteran Community Home Base was a key location for Australia’s war effort in WWII. The most notable use of the Oonoonba site was by the 13th Australian Personnel Staging Camp (13 APSC).  This was the location where all troops deploying to and returning from PNG during WWII were held temporarily pending on-forwarding. Towards the end of the war, the focus of 13 APSC turned specifically to supporting demobilisation and many service personnel were transitioned out of the ADF back into their pre-war civilian lives from this unit/area.

Prior to WWII, the site was used for various military purposes. One such purpose was for the assembly of horses from western Queensland prior to embarkation to the Middle East in WWI.

The most recent use for the site upon which The Oasis Townsville is now built was the Department of Primary Industries administrative building. The building had been vacant for many years. The Queensland Government re-zoned the area as a residential estate and the DPI building was designated for use by the veteran community in October 2017. 

Significance to the Design

Some features of Townsville’s WWII experience are captured in the design of The Oasis Townsville. The US 5th Air Force was raised in Townsville and many of its service personnel spent much of their time in the P1 Huts, known colloquially as Pee-Wee Huts. Artillery gun emplacements around the city and on Magnetic Island provide vantage points to fire on enemies attacking from the sea or air. The three high features of the Townsville landscape are universally recognised by soldiers, sailors and aviators during the war for various reasons.

Guidance to Architects

Counterpoint Architecture (a Townsville-based studio) in conjunction with Phorm architecture + design was responsible for the design. 

The DPI site had a large rectangular building dominating the block. That building was not conducive to community activity. The intent behind the design was to reflect an oasis with non-military-like lines. The design was to incorporate a concept for optimal use of space by veterans and their families and the communities and teams they generate. It was important to retain the