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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Milestone for Oasis project

Early works on The Oasis Townsville site are almost completed and the new road has been given a special name in recognition of the Oonoonba site’s long military history.

Minister for Communities and Member for Mundingburra, Coralee O’Rourke today held a ceremony on site to announce the new road at The Oasis Townsville would be named Staging Camp Avenue.

“It’s wonderful to mark this significant milestone and see The Oasis Townsville project taking shape,” Mrs O’Rourke said.

“I am proud to have been able to deliver this project for our local community – and I know The Oasis Townsville advisory committee chaired by retired Lieutenant General John Caligari AO DSC is very pleased with how the project is progressing.

She said the project supported approximately 26 local construction jobs, which was vital as the state recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With Queensland continuing to have a strong health response – the Palaszczuk Government is able to keep delivering Queensland’s plan for economic recovery, which priorities growing our regional communities.”

Mrs O’Rourke said the name Staging Camp Avenue reflected the significance of this location to Townsville’s military history, and the previous usage of The Oasis Townsville site in Oonoonba.

“During World War II, this site was used by the Australian Defence Force as Staging Camp – an area where troops would gather before they were deployed to serve overseas,” she said.

“A significant majority of the troops who served, and gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country, stayed, trained and passed through the very site we are standing on today.

“The significance of this area to Australia’s military history makes it all the more fitting to be the site of The Oasis Townsville – the new military hub we are building to support Townsville’s defence community.”

The Oonoonba area also has other significance to Australia’s military history.

When Townsville was bombed by the Japanese in July 1942, a bomb hit near the then Animal Health Station in Oonoonba.

While no structures were damaged and no-one was hurt or killed, the area is marked by the Oonoonba Bombing Memorial – which is located not far from The Oasis Townsville.

Mrs O’Rourke said the military significance of Oonoonba stretches all the way back to pre-World War I, with active militia light horse regiments drawn from the area – including the 15th and 27th Light Horse Regiments.

“Many of these men went on to serve in the famous 5th Light Horse Brigade with the Desert Mounted Corps under General Sir Harry Chauvel during the World War I Palestine Campaign,” she said.

“During this period, light horse depot locations and horse mustering and remount facilities were located in the now Oasis precinct, include the Staging Camp Avenue area.

“This area was used by the Moreton Light Horse – Queensland Mounted Infantry-between the world wars, and was used by its successor unit – the 2nd Australian Cavalry Regiment until it was disbanded in Townsville in mid-1943.

“Even now there is a local connection in the modern Australian Defence Force, with the armoured unit in Townsville bearing the name 2nd Cavalry Regiment.”

The naming of Staging Camp Avenue and the completion of early works on site at The Oasis Townsville forms part of the Palaszczuk Government’s $4.3 million funding commitment which Mrs O’Rourke fought to secure for the local community, veterans and their families.

Main works are also continuing on The Oasis Townsville, with the project expected to be completed in late 2020.

For more information on how projects like The Oasis Townsville are helping Queensland to unite and recover from COVID-19, visit: https://www.covid19.qld.gov.au/government-actions/our-economic-recovery-strategy

For more information about The Oasis Townsville, visit: www.theoasistownsville.org.au

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