Catalina Base

Tarmac area/Len Poulter, Les Thompson collection

 

The RAAF seconded Doctors Gully during the Second World War as the new northern base and headquarters for Australia’s largest flying boat squadrons, the Catalinas. Two oil tanks and a pump house were installed at the back of Doctors Gully in 1943 as part of Darwin’s strategic naval oil fuel supplies and to support the Catalina Flying Boat Base and RAAF Marine Section.

The Catalinas played an important role, laying mines in enemy held ports, often flying below ten metres to avoid radar detection.

Doctors Gully was used as a staging point for the delivery of urgently needed medical supplies and the returning of prisoners-of-war from Singapore after the Japanese surrender.

They were returned back south and the camp disbanded after 1945.