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Townsville @ War - Air Defence Systems 1942
and the three Air Raids on Townsville


The Townsville area was known as Base Section 2 to the Americans

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Townsville - my home town

A photograph of Flinders Street some time after the war.  Chandlers and the Excelsior Hotel can be seen on the left and the Adelaide Steamship Company building on the right.


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Another old photo (161 Kbytes) of Flinders Street, Townsville.  Green and Rawkins Chemist on the right and City Mutual building on the left


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Another old photo (75 Kbytes) of Flinders Street, Townsville.  Cannings on the right and City Mutual building on the left

Photo courtesy of Jack Heyn, of Gp. Photo Section, 3rd Bomb Gp. (L) (aka 3rd Attack Gp.)


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One Sunday Afternoon in Townsville 1942

A crayon and water colour and pencil illustration by Roy Hodkinson of the Herald


Photographic Collection of Townsville from 1940's
and a few more recent photos
Private collection held by NQRS

Views of Townsville
from the early 1940's

Townsville in February 1999

Recent Panoramic Views
of Townsville
Rowes Bay, Magnetic Island, Many Peaks Range, Mount Stuart, Mount Louisa




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WWII Bunker Tour of Townsville


WW2 Bunkers & Fortifications
in the Townsville area

Green St., Ramsay St., Bundock St., Sturt St., inside Castle Hill, Queens Park, Kissing Point, Mount Louisa, Magnetic Island, etc, etc

WW2 Bunkers in the Stuart and Roseneath areas of Townsviell
Military Command Centre inside Castle Hill near the Green Street Bunker The Defence of Townsville during WW2
Top Secret - Townsville Defence Scheme
This is a very interesting document

Magnetic Island Fortifications

The Defence of Townsville Harbour

The Townsville Harbour Board during WW2

General MacArthur rescued from the Philippines by Flying Fortresses based in Townsville

General Douglas MacArthur in Townsville
The Facts and the Myths

Lyndon Baynes Johnson's time in Townsville
The 36th President of the United States 
stayed at Buchanan's Hotel during WW2

Lyndon Baynes Johnson
takes part in a bombing raid on Lae

This bombing raid was flown out of Townsville
via Port Moresby

Lyndon Baynes Johnson in a crash landing
of a B-17 Flying Fortress at Carisbrooke Station

"Bluey" Truscott crash lands
his Kittyhawk at Townsville

The Japanese bomb Townsville
Did you know that the Japanese bombed
Townsville on 3 occasions?

Japanese Air Raids in North Queensland
1942 - 1943

Townsville saved from a 300 aircraft
Japanese Air Raid

"Z" Special Unit Commandos invade Townsville
Operation "Scorpion"

Negro Servicemen riot at the Upper Ross,
May 1942

The "Native Labour Company"
500 Chinese labourers camped in Townsville

"G" for George arrives in Townsville

Battle of the Coral Sea

Mustard Gas Experiments - Townsville area

At School in Townsville during WW2

Reference Books on Townsville during WW2

The P-38 Crash Landing

Artillery Pieces in the Townsville area
during WW2

Anti-aircraft Batteries located
in the Townsville area during WW2

Military Aircraft Crashes in the
Townsville area during WW2
Did you know that there were at least 199 military aircraft crashes or mishaps in the Townsville area during WW2?

Military Units based
in the Townsville area during WW2

WAAAF'S in North Queensland during WW2

Townsville WAAAF Recruit Course

USAAF Units stationed in the
Townsville area at 8 May 1942

Military Establishments in the
Townsville area during WW2

Camps, buildings, airfields, bunkers, etc

Military Camps/Units at Oonoonba (previously Fairfield) Townsville during WW2

Townsville War Cemetery
222 Australian buried in this cemetery
at Belgian Gardens

US Military Cemetery in Townsville during WW2
Approximately 390 Americans were buried
in this Cemetery at Belgian Gardens

Residences and Buildings commandeered by the Military in Townsville during WW2

Photographic Collection of Jack Heyn
of Group Photo Section, 3rd Bomb Group (L)
(aka 3rd Attack Group)

Jack Heyn in the South West Pacific area
during WW2

Includes his time at Charters Towers and visits to Mackay and Ingham
Wartime Menu for Athol's Inn
in Flinders Street
the menu was obviously designed to please the Americans

Entertainment in Townsville during WW2
Hotels, Movie Theatres, Brothels, etc.

Magnetic Island boat "Paluma"
was once used as a support vessel for the Coastwatchers

Townsville - The war is over!!  


Do you remember
the historic cannons in Anzac Park?


I was born in Townsville in 1948 and as a kid I grew up surrounded by remnants of the war.  The saltpan behind my home at Haig Street, Pimlico, Townsville had a number of rusting belly tanks from fighter and bomber aircraft that were based in Townsville during the war.  The lucky kids who were a bit older had managed to grab the better ones a few years earlier and made canoes out of them.  The saltpan is now gone and replaced with some lakes, housing and Castletown shopping centre, etc.  I can vaguely remember about 50 metres behind our house, there were the remains of what I presume were open slit trenches from the war.


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The bike and some long-nose Lincoln bombers
of 10 Squadron RAAF
at Garbutt airbase in 1961


I used to ride my trusty old pushbike out to the numerous World War 2 igloos that used to exist around Duckworth street and the general area at the base of Mount Louisa.  I can remember my mother, like many other people in Townsville, learning how to drive on the large concrete aprons on Duckworth Street, that once used to hold hundreds of wartime aircraft.  I can remember the Redex Trials mustered in the same area when I was a kid.  These aircraft took part in many bombing raids in the New Guinea area and also took part in the Battle of the Coral Sea off the north Queensland coast. 

At one time during the war, Townsville was America's largest overseas air base except for some facilities in Great Britain.  It was common for B-26 Marauders, B-17 Flying Fortresses or B-25 Mitchell bombers to take off on long range bombing raids from Garbutt air base.  The first bombing raid on Rabaul on 23 February 1942 was carried out by six B-17's based near Townsville. Three of the B-17's were badly damaged by gunfire and three crewmen were wounded. One B-17 belly landed 354 kms from Port Moresby when it ran out of fuel.

These long range bombing raids from Townsville would cover a 36 - 48 hour period with a total of 18 hours of flying time.  Typically they would leave Townsville late in the afternoon, stay overnight at Port Moresby to refuel and take on-board a load of bombs, and then attack Rabaul.  They would then return to Port Moresby for more fuel and return to Townsville.

I remember when I was about 12 -15 years old, one of our neighbours, the Neilsens, telling me about a P-38 Lightning having crash landed on the saltpan behind our house.  I never knew whether it was true or not, but over 25 years later I read about this incident in the excellent book called "Wings Around Us" by Rodney G. Cardell.  I'd love to find a photograph of the aircraft after it had crash landed.  Can anyone help?  Rodney's excellent book is centered around the Stock Route Air Strip which used to be located where Dalrymple Road goes beside the high voltage steel towers at Garbutt.  There were many other war times airfields around Townsville, including Aitkenvale, Antill Plains, Bohle River, Fanning, Garbutt, Giru, Reid River, Ross River, Upper Ross, and Woodstock.

Regards Peter Dunn
Brisbane, Australia


"Australia @ War" assisted SkyNews Australia with their TV Special -
"Anzac Legacy - An Unsolved Mystery" in September 2001. 
Investigating reports of WWII tunnels and bunkers
criss-crossing Townsville, North Queensland.


Townsville City Council held an event called Living Heroes - VP60
from 12 - 15 August 2005 which
marked the 60th anniversary
of the end of World War 2 and commemorated our veterans


Military Barber Shop in Townsville
Full of photos and memorabilia


Can anyone help me with more information?


"Australia @ War" WWII Research Products

I need your help


 Peter Dunn OAM 2020


Please e-mail me
any information or photographs

"Australia @ War"
8GB USB Memory Stick

This page first produced 25 April 1998

This page last updated 28 February 2020