the second World War, Alice
Springs was used as a staging point for the movement of
men, equipment and supplies north
to Darwin. At this time the railway stretched from Adelaide
to Alice Springs, but for most of the way from Alice Springs
to Darwin, there was nothing but a narrow, unsealed track.
Until the road from Alice to Darwin was improved, all heavy
transport to Darwin was by sea.
- Alice Springs
When the soldiers first came to Alice Springs, they camped
on the eastern side of town on what is now Anzac Oval. To
see a recent image of the site, roll your mouse over the
image. (Image courtesy of Conservation Commission of the
Springs was seen as crucial by the military in the provisioning
of Australia's Top End defences from the earliest
stages of the war. Initially though its use was as a base
from which to supply the construction gangs undertaking the
upgrade of the Alice Springs to Darwin road, and also to supply
the troops in the Top End. With the bombing of Darwin in February,
1942, Alice Springs became a crucial link between the railhead
from Adelaide and the start of the 1500km drive undertaken by
the army convoys.
December, 1942 - Alice Springs
Members of 121st Australian General Transport Company arriving
by train in Alice Springs. (Image courtesy of the Australian
This section on the Military will reveal what it was like for the
soldiers who stayed in Alice Springs before moving north, as well
as the lifestyle of those members
of what was initially called the Darwin Overland Maintenance Force,
who undertook the long convoys from Alice Springs to Darwin once the
road was upgraded.
Of course, it wasn't all work for the soldiers and we include some
of the soldiers' other activities as well, including sport
and so on.