Keep ANZAC Day spirit alive with these tours and landmarks
This ANZAC Day, make the Dawn Service last a little longer with a visit to some of Queensland’s best memorial sites.
Our history is rich and with the 100-year anniversary of the landing of ANZAC troops at Gallipoli on 25 April 2015, it’s the perfect time to remember our fallen heroes. From the southeast to the northern tip of Queensland there is no shortage of places (or ways) to pay your respects, from memorials and World War II landmarks to exhibitions and military tours.
Brisbane has no shortage of ANZAC sites. The ANZAC Square Memorial is a great place to start, then check out the boardwalk in Teneriffe for a walk through the history of Brisbane’s submariners.
The Brisbane Greeters are also holding ‘100 Years of ANZAC and Gallipoli Centenary Tours’ to learn war stories and reflect on the ANZAC spirit from Monday 20 April until Sunday 10 May. Bookings are essential at least three days in advance for these free, richly historical walks.
On the Sunshine Coast, the scenic Caloundra Coastal Walk is lined with plaques commemorating soldiers who fought for Australia. At Kings Beach headland stands a tribute to the sinking of the hospital ship Centaur during World War II, in which only 64 of the 332 people on board survived.
Landsborough Museum is hosting the ‘Far From This Land’ gallery, which shows the impact of World War I on the Sunshine Coast. The pictures tell the stories of soldiers, Harry, James and William, and staff nurse Connie. Sadly, only two of the four made it home but their stories live on forever. The exhibit runs from March 19, 2015 to April 2016.
In Roma, five-and-a-half hours’ drive west of Brisbane, the Heroes Avenue of 93 bottle trees was planted in 1920 in memory of the 93 local men who fell during the First World War. While each tree originally bore a plaque stating the name of one of the men, a cairn located outside the Post Office now holds the only remaining plaque and lists all 93 names since many trees have since been replaced or removed.
Off the coast of Fraser Island is the site of the Fraser Commando School – a spot where the uber top secret ‘Z’ Special Unit did some of their training. They were a group of highly trained soldiers used for reconnaissance and sabotage and had an integral role to play in the war in the pacific. The remnants of those days are all around the grounds, about 1.6 kilometres south of Kingfisher Bay Resort, and special care should be taken not to disturb what’s left.
ABC News showcased rare colour footage of training in this “secret spot” for a recent Australian Story episode.
While Townsville continues to be an important base for military operations, the remnants of the Quarantine Station in Pallarenda Park serves as a reminder of the area used by Australian and American troops during World War II when the station was used as a hospital.
You can also hike to see an Australian Royal Navy artillery battery on the popular Forts Walk on Magnetic Island, which serves as a reminder of just how close the war came to our shores. Spread out along the 3.8-kilometre walk, the concrete command post, observation post, munitions bunker and gun emplacements still remain for visitors to explore.
Tropical North Queensland
Sitting off the coast of Mission Beach, The Royal Australian Air Force occupied Dunk Island during World War II, building its airstrip and a radar station – the rusty remnants of which can be found at the tip of Mt Kootaloo, with access to the island via water taxi. With the men living in buildings that had previously been part of the island’s first resort, the radar station provided constant surveillance of the coast.
North of Port Douglas, near the town of Mossman, is a small memorial remembering the night a bomb fell on the Zullo farm. Carmel Zullo was 2 1/2 years old when she was hit in the head by shrapnel from the bomb exploding. It was the only civilian injury inflicted by the enemy on the Eastern Australian mainland throughout World War 2. Luckily, Carmel survived and opened the memorial site 50 years later.
In the very far north on Horn Island in the Torres Strait, the In Their Steps tour allows guests to walk in the steps of soldiers who served in the area and explore what was the most advanced operational Australian airbase during the World War II. The Torres Strait Heritage Museum, also on Horn Island, houses over 400 exhibits including archival and personal photos from the war along with diaries, maps, sketches and personal artifacts.