Top Secret

Western Queensland Road Trip Square Tops Challenge #5

Do you know how close World War Two came to Australia?

Enemy ships and submarines cruised in Australian waters and engaged in several naval attacks. Two towns in the far north were repeatedly bombed in air raids. And one million American service personnel were stationed at bases around the country.

In 1942, the airport at Charleville was handed over to the United States Air Force and turned into a military base. Charleville was chosen as the site of the base because of its remote position; it was unreachable by Japanese bombers. 3,500 American servicemen lived and worked there but, after the war ended, almost everything was removed. Today only a few traces remain of the buildings on the base where top secret work took place.

To learn more about what happened here, we joined the Top Secret World War Two Tag Along Tour. In our own vehicle we joined a convoy and set off up a dusty track to explore several sites near the airport.

All that’s left of most buildings are the foundations but, with the help of information boards, it’s easy to imagine what once stood in each location. Local girls looked forward to joining the servicemen for regular social gatherings at the Dance Hall.

The open air shower block was a necessity for good personal hygiene.

These hollows in the ground were once lined with bitumen, creating rudimentary bathtubs where the men could enjoy a relaxing soak.

One surviving war time building is located at the airport. Hangar 104, one of five hangars constructed by the Americans, was returned to the RAAF after the war. It’s now the Charleville base of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Another relic left still standing is this small concrete shed. During the war it was camouflaged with branches cut from the surrounding mulga trees so it couldn’t be detected by planes passing overhead.

What was inside that required such clandestine measures? I can’t tell you! It’s top secret and you’ll need to join a tag along tour to find out.

Or you could do some research online. Let me know if you find out.

While our travels are on hold, I’m joining in every day with Becky’s April Square Tops Challenge over at The Life of B. The rules are simple: photos must be square and fit the theme word “top”.

27 thoughts on “Top Secret

  1. Was it this “The top-secret site was selected to test the Norden bomb sight – a mechanical device that would attach to the Flying Fortresses to increase bombing accuracy – which meant it was rarely even referenced in war documents.”

    I went on a cargo ship from Cairns to the Torres Strait Islands, and found out a lot about their involvement in World War Two.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. We have dugouts along the coast where watch was kept for invading ships in WW2. There were cannon in many of them to fire as necessary. Most of them are now blocked off, but when I was a kid there were still some you could get into – or fall into -which was probably why they all eventually got filled in or shut off in some way. I believe one of the German ship came on here after visiting Australia and also three Japanese subs made forays along the east coast ….. I guess we both got off lightly, in terms of invasion, at that particular time in history!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Enjoyed your post. New information for me. When we were in north and western Australia 5 years ago we learned much about American and Australian joint efforts from Freemantle and north. Great exhibit and ruins in Exmouth. Truly was a world war. Thanks for more information.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: A Loo With a View – The Western Queensland Edition | The Eternal Traveller

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