After the 1935/36 tent camp, plans for buildings to accommodate a complete infantry
brigade were prepared by the Quartermaster General’s Office and the Works Branch of
the Australian Army. However, building activity was slow.
When World War II broke out in September 1939, Northam Army Camp suddenly became the
focus of frantic building activity.
Northam Army Camp Sentry Box, 2010. Courtesy of NACHA.
By early October, 175 huts had been built. Some of the larger buildings, like the mess
huts, were relocated from the World War I training camp at Blackboy Hill. Other
buildings were constructed from materials recycled from Blackboy Hill.
Most of the buildings were timber framed clad with corrugated iron. The barrack
buildings, each accommodating 48 men, were grouped together to form a company. Each
company was serviced by a headquarters, a quartermaster’s store, cook house, mess hut
and ablution block.
Officers and senior NCOs had separate accommodation and mess.
The whole camp was served by general camp facilities, canteens, the YMCA, Salvation
Army and Red Cross posts and Camp Hospital.
The grid pattern layout of Northam Army Camp was typical of military training camps
throughout Australia. Below is a stylised, approximate representation of Northam Army
Camp in 1939.
Map Guide:[A] HQ & Mess Hall, [B] Storage Areas, [C] Parade Ground, [D] Cool Rooms,
[E] Petrol & Lubricant Compound, [F] Workshop & Store, [G] Hospital & Nurses Quarters,
[H] Block D (Kitchens), [I] Block E (General Accommodation), [J] Block F (General Accommodation),
[K] Block G (General Accommodation), [L] General Accommodation.
Phil Loffman explains how he joined the cadets at 14 (saying he was 16) and helped expand the
camp with the aid of horses.
Phil Loffman interviewed by Judy Durey for Murdoch University & NACHA with sound produced by Rob Muir, 2008.
Ray Middleton describes the conditions within the Army Camp's accommodation in the 1940s
and how it prepared them for WWII.
Ray Middleton interviewed by Judy Durey for Murdoch University & NACHA with sound produced by Rob Muir, 2008.