Location - Townsville, North Queensland, Australia
Townsville has a rich World War II history. During World War II, concrete bunkers, forts, vantage points, searchlights, and gun emplacements were constructed and used by Australian and American soldiers. Many of them still stand today and remind us of Townsville's military history.
A persistent urban legend has it that when American troops were stationed in Townsville during World War II, they offered to demolish the hill and construct a causeway to Magnetic Island. Another is that American troops constructed tunnels under Castle Hill and Kissing Point. Maybe no one will ever know the real story.
The Forts on Magnetic Island are some of the most frequently visited and definitely the most locally known WW2 bunkers in the area. The Forts include a workshop, officers latrines, a mess hall and kitchen for lower ranks, an ammunitions store, an artillery command post, gun emplacements, a range finder, a radio tower signal station, and a command post. Read more about the Forts Walk and check it out for yourself if you haven't already!
Just back from the Searchlight Tower was another structure.
Anti-aircraft gun site
An anti-aircraft gun site in Nelly Bay.
Kissing Point / Jezzine Barracks
Jezzine Barracks fort.
Cape Pallarenda Coastal Artillery and searchlight bunkers.
Town Common Range Observation Bunkers
There is scant documentary evidence to elucidate the history behind these two concrete structures. What we know is pieced together from the recollections of some Townsville locals. It's believed that these bunkers were erected after the Second World War, serving as both shelters and vantage points for ground personnel managing gunnery targets.
A mock-up of a Japanese landing craft constructed from timber was one of these targets. It was positioned on a salt flat westward of the bunkers. It was a frequent focus for training exercises by the Royal Australian and United States Air Forces, practising with machine guns and bombs. Among the aircraft involved was the Australian-made Wirraway fighter bomber. During the conflict, Townsville experienced three air raids. Notably, early on 28 July 1942, a fleet of Japanese planes deviated from their intended route and unleashed a series of bombs over the Many Peaks Range.
Please note that vehicles are not permitted to the bunkers, and there are no established paths for walking access.
Townsville City / Castle Hill
The Green Street bunker at West End is also known as the Sidney Street bunker or Project 81.
Flinders Street East Signals Bunker
Top of Castle Hill
Jimmy's lookout anti-aircraft bunker is located near the airport.
Brookhill, Roseneath, and Wulguru (Mount Stuart)
Roseneath and Wulguru have a number of heritage-listed sites, including a former Operations and Signals Bunker. Wulguru has a number of heritage-listed sites as well that we need to explore and document in the near future.
Brookhill also has a few hidden gems.
The auxiliary bunker near Mount Louisa summit.
Ross River Anti-aircraft bunkers. Located in South Townsville, just south of Ross River.
Garbutt Operations & Signals Bunker
Orpheus Island US submarine repair station, Palm Island Group
Note that some of these locations are located on private property, and prior permission is required to access some locations.
We would like these historic sites to be remembered, and we would like the relics and artefacts to stay on-site, untouched, and not fall victim to collectors and trophy hunters. There are few places remaining like these in Australia, let alone the world, to explore that have not been pillaged. There is no reason to remove objects from any of these sites. Please be responsible, respect the history, and respect the importance of these sites for future generations. Leave No Trace - Take photos and leave only footprints.
Here's an interactive map of the locations of all the WWII Bunkers of the Townsville area: