This site is dedicated to All the Australian and Allied Servicemen who were not recognized for the part they played in the defense of Australia. Seeing that underground installations were top secret, still to this day the Servicemen that are remaining feel that they cannot speak of one of the greatest feats undertaken on Australian soil. This is also dedicated to the memory of Lester William Stanley of 84th Squadron, who was a dear friend and played an instrumental part in helping this company find the underground installations.
While most never call themselves a hero, they are all heroes, whether they have passed on or still alive, as heroes live on in our hearts forever.
LEST WE FORGET
This would not have been possible without key people who went above and beyond the call of duty, in the pursuit of truth. We have incurred resistance from all levels of government in our pursuit to have these bunkers opened, as a memorial and testament to the Valour and ingenuity of our soldiers on Australian soil.
The above poem was had written in a personal log by an Australian serviceman, while serving at Tarakan. I don’t think any could not read this poem and feel how our digger felt. Any one, who ignores the wishes of our servicemen and our history, should hang their head in shame. And shame it is that more positive steps are not taken to protect and preserve our history.
While the government speaks highly of the Snowy River Scheme and claim it to be one of the greatest man-made feats on Australian soil, our research has shown for this to be incorrect. The technology was used during the war on bunkers throughout Australia. With methods of tunneling not changing, since the 1920’s. It is only that machinery has become more mechanized. The theory behind it dates to the Roman’s.
From our research it appears that the bunkers were part of a strategy of defense if we were invaded. It is a well-known fact that the government knew for some time that a Japanese threat was increasing. As the war progressed the grand strategy of the Japanese was revealed enemy documents. They intended closing a net around Australia and New Zealand by occupying all the surrounding islands nations. Already captured were Indonesia and the Philippines. The Japanese were occupying New Guinea and had invaded the Solomon’s. All that was needed now was to complete the plan was the invasion and capture of Fiji, New Caledonia and the New Hebrides. Australia was the prize within this island network.
During May 1942, the Japanese deviated from this plan by sending an invasion force by sea direct to Port Moresby and to Northern Australia, their desire being to accelerate the pace of the advance. Their primary objective was the Australian port of Townsville where there was a large concentration of allied shipping, newly arrived with American troops and war supplies.
From our research it appears that the bunkers were part of a strategy of defense if we were invaded. It is a well-known fact that the government knew for some time that a Japanese threat was increasing. As the war progressed the grand strategy of the Japanese was revealed enemy documents. They intended closing a net around Australia and New Zealand by occupying all the surrounding islands nations. Already captured were Indonesia and the Philippines. The Japanese were occupying New Guinea and had invaded the Solomon’s. All that was needed now was to complete the plan was the invasion and capture of Fiji, New Caledonian and the New Hebrides. Australia was the prize within this island network.
During May 1942, the Japanese deviated from this plan by sending an invasion force by sea direct to Port Moresby and to Northern Australia, their desire being to accelerate the pace of the advance. Their primary objective was the Australian port of Townsville where there was a large concentration of allied shipping, newly arrived with American troops and war supplies. As well as the large amount of surplus coming into the Townsville port which is shown in the following figures. 31 December 1942, 428 500 tonnes of war material, including 5449 of vehicles, 105 919 tonnes of oil, 70 000 tonnes of war effort. 1943, 1005931 tonnes of material, 200 946 tonnes of oil and 160 000 tonnes of war effort, 1944, 845 684 tonnes of material, 213 611 tonnes of oil and 170 000 tonnes of war effort. As the reader can see, a lot of material was in fact brought into Townsville via the port, many thousands more tonnes were brought ashore by the Americans along the strand.
The photos we can view show that a large build-up of lend lease material was stored on the beach on the stand. This was bought ashore by the Americans.
Figure 1 LST unloading at the strand, this surplus was separate to the ports records.
Figure 2 the LST had every square inch of deck space was taken up.
There have been many reports of large bunker systems close to where this surplus was stored. Just in these photos alone there is a lot of equipment and they were taken at the beginning of landings. Records do not show how much equipment came ashore this way.
Figure 3 kissing point hill, their appears to be a large unnatural feature in the front of the hill, with stores in front of it.
Figure 4 This bunker still does exist, though it is claimed only on one level, inside reports speak of another level again that does have material in them, we will leave it to the reader to draw their own conclusions as what this does really exist.
The Museum at Jessine. When were kids, coming to Townsville from Ayr was a big deal.After seeing Dr Shelberg, we would go to the Strand. Us kids would
explore the Forts on the hill at Jessine. One of the lookouts (now destroyed) had a tunnel that ran back into the hill. It was a scary thing but we used to crawl along it to the Ammunition storage area. There was a large long thin room with three other rooms attached. These rooms were locked with huge locks and they had steel mesh over them. They were directly under the Gun positions. We were told that they were where the shell, powder bags and projectiles were kept. The next room up was where the rounds were assembled then sent up to the Gun. Existence of these deeper rooms is now deigned. However, the Fort at Jessine was built to a set British universal design. If you go to Singapore and visit the forts (or any British late 19th. Century Fort anywhere in the world) you will find the same design,complete with the three levels and explanation of how it all worked. This paragraph was sent to abmm pty ltd by someone who has been inside the bunker.
Figure 5 oblique shot showing just how much activity was taking place at the strand, it was only around one month that the surplus was like this, then the question must be asked. Where did it all go?
Good Allied intelligence reports warned the allied Navy Command in time. At top speed American and Australian warships got into blocking position in the path of the oncoming Japanese invasion fleet. The battle that followed earned a place in history books as a new type of naval warfare. Not one shot was exchanged between the ships of opposing fleets; the outcome was decided entirely by air power.
Wartime censorship prevented the Australian public from receiving full information about the battle and the full fright and warning. The victory had been won out at sea beyond sight and sound of the Australian mainland, and therefore it became to Australians just another one of those battles fought in a faraway place. Few seemed to realize it had been fought partly from Australia soil. It had been a last-ditch stand.
Anzac Day, which commemorates a catastrophic defeat in a distant foreign land long ago, continues to be observed annually in Australia. But the Battle of the Coral Sea commemorations are perfunctory and pass without much public attention. Had this battle not turned out the way it did, the result would have been very different. With the Japanese have taken control of rich oil and rubber reserves in the islands, if Australia fell, they would have rich mineral deposits. With this in hand they could launch direct attacks on the west coast of America and would have world superiority.
General Douglas Mac Arthur, having witnessed firsthand the might of the jap’s blitzkrieg of South-East Asia and the bombing of the mighty Fortress of Corregidor, and new firsthand the necessity of fortified and underground installations. An engineer of general Moore’s staff, Colonel Lloyd E. Mielenz, has estimated that the total length of all wartime tunnels equaled the length of all tunnels completed in the peacetime years. This is a clear indication, that when pressed, anything is possible when it becomes life or dearth struggle. Mac Arthur was evacuated two months before the eventual fall of Corregidor on the 6 Th of May, which was midway through the battle of the Coral Sea.
MacArthur stepping out of Corregidor and coming to Australia, it is likely that he brought the same plan he used while in the Philippines.
At MacArthur’s Tunnel in Corregidor they achieved the same amount of tunneling while under siege as they did in the 10 years prior to the war. With the bunker system proving its worth, while under heavy shelling, the only thing that let MacArthur down was the shortage of supplies, and why would he not have adopted the same plan here.
Figure 6 in light of mac arther changing the said Brisbane line.
Figure 7 official document clearing showing that this was true.
Figure 8 newspaper report, which confirms the rumor stronger still.
Now I submit our findings.
Aerial photos show that tunneling was well underway in July 1941 in Townsville. We trust that you will find these stories very interesting and informative as they go back to a period, that very little is known about. This was bought about by the fear instilled in the Veterans by the military command and the government of that day. It is sad to think that 50 years on this fear is preventing Australians from seeing their history. For a country that is 200 years old and 100 years of proud military history our government and military leaders fall a long way short of ensuring our history is preserved for our future generations. The below quote from George Washington sums up the truth.
The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation”.
This is an attempt to convey my own and other directors’ feelings and perspectives of Australia’s defense mechanisms. While the government has done its best to make this chapter of history disappear, we hope to bring its plight to the attention of the public, and hope that by doing this, the veterans who have had to remain silent will come forward and be counted. The following documentation is from Australian Archives in Melbourne and is called The Townsville Defense Scheme. With this documentation in mind, I hope to relay to the readers the strategic role that Townsville and surrounding areas played in 1942.