North Queensland WWII 1942-1945
Published in 1988 by Queensland Government
I know that visiting wartime sites is a popular activity and I was reminded recently of this little booklet and its accompanying map published by Queensland’s Sunmap, an agency that has since been disbanded, in 1988, at the time of Australia’s Bicentenary of European settlement.
If you are planning to visit the wartime sites of the Atherton Tablelands in north Queensland, take a tip from me – pick up this valuable little booklet (and hopefully the fold out map tucked into the back pocket) before you go.
The aim of the booklet was to give a ‘brief overview of the effects of the Pacific War on North Queensland’. Certainly the Atherton Tablelands played a major role in training Australian troops for the jungle fighting they would encounter in New Guinea. My father was among those who spent time in the far north. He also participated in malaria experiments – probably for the extra beer ration on offer.
I’ve been reminded of this area recently via a TV program on SBS this week – Series 1 Episode 6 of the UK TV program Secrets of the Railways – The Tablelands Railway Line – Jungle Secrets – which, among other things, shows just how important the railway was in getting troops and supplies to the area.
Some years back, my wife and I made the short trip up from Cairns to the Atherton Tablelands during a holiday up north.
A return trip taking more time is high on my list of priorities. The 2/2 Field Ambulance was among the units in which my father served.
Throughout the area, there are quite a lot of markers to the wartime activities on the Tablelands.
And while you are there, don’t miss the Devonshire tea at the Lake Barrine Tea House – the Teahouse too had a wartime role as a hospital, particularly for malaria sufferers – https://www.lakebarrine.com.au
I’ve added a BUY LINK below – for those who are interested in this little gem. However it doesn’t indicate whether the map has survived intact with it.
This little book also has extensive Appendices listing brigades, units, aircraft types, landing strips (right down to the coordinates), US Army and Navy units and squadrons.
The detail is too much to go into here, but anyone interested in the area’s wartime role will find this little book fascinating.