Thunderboxes, Jail, War Brides, and Bushwalking in Wacol
Pooh Corner is 138 hectares of bushland in Wacol, around 17 kilometres South West of Brisbane's city centre. Although traffic hum could be heard in the distance, this was a pleasant place to walk, because the trail was flat and wide, trees provided just the right amount of shade, there was a lot of bird life, and we saw kangaroos grazing deep in the bush. But where did the name come from? And what were those old brick structures we saw, whilst bushwalking here. A little research revealed that this area has a rather interesting history, so read on if you would like to find out more.
Apparently, back in the days when most Brisbanites had outside toilets, and the contents of local thunderboxes were dumped nearby, passengers travelling by train between Brisbane and Ipswich, noted unpleasant odours in this area, so called it 'Pooh Corner'. I am happy to report that it smells much better these day.
You can walk the Kangaroo Trail Circuit in either direction.
The Kangaroo Trail is 3.9 kilometre in length, and we set off in a clockwise direction. Within 330 metres, we reached the railway line, and walked alongside this for just over a kilometre, passing the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre, with its high razor wire fences, on the way. What a sobering sight. Being free had never felt so good.
During World War 2, the land on which this prison was built, and Pooh Corner, were part of Camp Columbia. As part of my research, I visited the MacArthur Museum, and learned that military camps had been established all over Brisbane. These housed almost 100,000 Americans stationed here during the war. Over 7,000 women from Queensland had married American men, by time the war ended in 1945.
Plaque on the wall outside the MacArthur Museum, 201 Edward Street, Brisbane
It is also worth mentioning that after the war (1949 to 1987), the buildings at Camp Columbia provided temporary accommodation, for thousands of immigrants who made new lives in Australia.
Leaving the railway line, the trail turned right, following Sandy Creek. You can't see the creek from the trail, so if you want a look, head towards the railway bridge instead of turning right. At one time, Pooh Corner was used for hand grenade training, so this is probably a safer option than walking through bushland further down the track, like we did (we had missed the warning sign).
Continuing along the trail, we walked for a couple of kilometres through some lovely bushland. With no-one around, and lots of sticks available, we were able to have a mock sword fight. Near the end of the track, we stopped to explore the ruins of some old structures on our left. These were sewerage treatment facilities built for Camp Columbia during the war. You can also get a good view of these when driving down Wolston Road.
Sewerage Treatment Facilities built for Camp Columbia