exploring the possibility of still hidden bunkers

Submitted: Tuesday, May 06, 2003 at 20:30
ThreadID: 4765 Views:7995 Replies:9 FollowUps:6
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Hi my name is Gary
I am from western Australia. Myself and 3 friends are about to embark on a north west trip mainly to explore the possibility of still hidden bunkers in the north west. One of the 3 spot we are going to is the Certain ranges directly west of a well on the canning stock track where a old prospector I had once met had told us of a story about some bunkers in the side of the hills in the north west side of the range.The Second spot is a lot harder and needs to be researched a lot more . That came from a dozer driver that had been doing seismic oil line in a so called strait line from a Certain beach . The story goes like this !! He was driving his dozer with the blade down cutting a path for the drill rig when the dozer stoped hard going up a small rise .Thinking it was some sort of tree stump he back up and tried again. Same thing happened. So he got down to investigated only to find a large steel door. He used a large chain and opened this so called door and inside was old US army gear re closed the door and left to return latter only to die of a heart attack a year or so latter . Now we have this information from a second hand source being the driver good friend we are going to visit him next week for as much info as we can get before we leave. Would anyone have heard anything about this? ( We have all heard of the camp fire stories and the pub stories and this may well be the case ) But It will still be a good interesting trip either way anyone interested in joining us ??. we also have some info on some old bunkers near a certain Mine close to marble bar. We intend checking these out as well we have aerial photos of theses .Also I have some photos of what looks like a large runway with 3 humps either side. When I look at this photo it looks like that there are hangers that are buried there .This is on a station in the far north west of western Australia theses photos were taking by a friend of mine doing aerial photography . Anyhow would anyone know of any info (like maps , charts and so on) That may be of use to us or any stories anyone may have heard of the north of west Australia not yet confirmed that we may investigated?? Thanks very much for your time

Yours Gary
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Reply By: herkman - Tuesday, May 06, 2003 at 20:51

Tuesday, May 06, 2003 at 20:51
Near Marble bar, is the remains of a large WW2 airfield. Was used by both the RAAF and USAAF during 1943/4.

I was last there about 12 years ago, and the revetments were still in place, but most other signs of activity were long gone.

There were never any hangers there, and the aircraft used to come down from the Darwin/Fenton area, would be refueled and sent out to Bomb the japs mainly in Indonesa.

The aviation history boys are very active in West Australia, I hope you have a great trip, but be prepared to come home disapointed.

To my knowledge, outside Marble bar, the USA forces never operated except until you got to Darwin.

Truscot field, which is still an active runway, is difficult to get to, but has lots of WW2 junk still there, I expect because it is so hard to get anything out.


Col Tigwell
AnswerID: 19296

Follow Up By: gazzzza - Tuesday, May 06, 2003 at 23:50

Tuesday, May 06, 2003 at 23:50
Hey Col Tigwell Yep your right we know of theses ones that you have spoke of we also had a RAAF one in Drysdale Mission and The first operation mission from the airfield was on 2 December 1942 when Beaufighters of 31 Squadron RAAF attacked and destroyed enemy aircraft on Penfoei airfield at Koepang on Timor. I realy dont expect to find much but what better reason for a exploration trip. something else that may be of intrest is about 5 Japanese hand-cleared operational bush airfields in Australia during WW2. best info we can get indicates they were mostly in The Kimberley in Western Australia.
this one is doctumented Was there a rough Japanese airfield in the Arnhem Land area of the Northern Territory near Blue Mud Bay? This bay is located on the west side of the Gulf of Carpentaria.

The Nackeroos (North Australian Observer Unit) operated out of Roper River during 1942/43 with Aboriginal Guides and Helpers. One of their patrols found some Japanese Oil drums near Blue Mud Bay on the Arnhem Land Gulf Coast. Were these associated with this airfield or some other Japanese activities either during or before the war?

yours gary

FollowupID: 12135

Reply By: lindsay - Tuesday, May 06, 2003 at 21:59

Tuesday, May 06, 2003 at 21:59
Gary, The airfield is called Corunna Downs it is on Corunna Downs Station 30 Ks G.P.S. . south of Marble Bar. You can visit it. It has two runways and dispersal areas for the aircraft, which would be the bunkers as seen from the air. The windsock pole is still there as are gun emplacements and the remains of the old quarters. The coordinates are S 20 o 26' 10 E 119 o 47' 25 . There were maps on how to get there in the servo in town and a small book on the history of the place
AnswerID: 19304

Follow Up By: Spanner - Tuesday, May 06, 2003 at 22:42

Tuesday, May 06, 2003 at 22:42
I think that should be S 21 o 26' 10 E 119 o 47' 25. Haven't been there yet. Just thought I'd plot it on the map & discovered the error.

FollowupID: 12130

Follow Up By: gazzzza - Tuesday, May 06, 2003 at 23:52

Tuesday, May 06, 2003 at 23:52
Thanks for that we know of that one We wish to explore all that is able to be found so keep the comments comming

yours Gary
FollowupID: 12136

Reply By: rads - Tuesday, May 06, 2003 at 23:02

Tuesday, May 06, 2003 at 23:02
G'day Gazza
Sounds like fun. We are doingthe Canning late July early August. Is this close to when you are planning your trip. Would be interested in checking them out myself.
AnswerID: 19317

Follow Up By: gazzzza - Tuesday, May 06, 2003 at 23:35

Tuesday, May 06, 2003 at 23:35
Hey rad
Well looks like were going around the same time I am hoping to be organised around middle to end of July and the canning stock route is close to our first visit we are talking at the moment about
going to Corunna Downs , Truscot field and a few others ending up in midde of NT More info over the next few weeks to follow

yours gary
FollowupID: 12134

Reply By: herkman - Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 06:55

Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 06:55
Drysdale mission had at least two larger aircraft crash there in WW2, one a USAAF B24 Liberator was repaired and was flown out. However because of its location, there still could be stuff there. It was never an operational base, in that people were permantly stationed there.

Have read the story of the oil drums, and rough built quarters at Mud Bay.

The best steer I can give you, if you are in Darwin, call into the heritage office, and speak to Bob Alford. He really knows his way around and may be able to give you more information.

Understand well however, that the NT government is right behind preserving this sort of stuff, looking and photography is fine, but removal or damage, will be reviewed very seriously.

Have a great and safe trip.


Col Tigwell
AnswerID: 19325

Follow Up By: gazzzza - Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 15:41

Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 15:41
Hi Col Tigwell
I can assure you even if I ever came across anything in my travels. I would be documenting it with video and photos not removing . This trip is to explore the possibility and lets face it it give you a real incentive to think that just maybe there is something new you may find One thing i would like to get my hands on is a silk maps which show areas in north-west WA and spots for downed pilots to find supplies. I did know of one that was sent to someone in NT who was going to use them to go hunting. He never used them, but I believe that they were on display in a private museum in Nightcliffe. He used to own Nightcliffe Motors . Thanks for you info its been real good and interesting to hear keep it coming

Yours Gary If anyone wants to mail me direct there welcome to
FollowupID: 12177

Reply By: herkman - Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 07:04

Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 07:04
I forgot to say. A Google search on Mud Bay etc, may throw a few more clues your way.


AnswerID: 19326

Reply By: Richard Holland - Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 11:41

Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 11:41
I'll be around Marble Bar in early July, is the airfield being discussed (Corunna) accessible or is it now private property? And, is it worth looking at?

Les Hiddens did a program some years ago and touched on the Northern Kimberley Coast, as I recall he showed a place where the Japanese had in fact landed & it was near Truscott. Country that was near vertical & very scrubby. He got around by chopper.

The book "North Australia Observer Unit" by Dr. Amourey Vane is well worth a read. "Morry" Vane who was a unit member died several years ago, but I spoke with him at an army function before he went, about the Kimberley's during WW2 & he claimed that 'they' had it on good information from the tribespeople in the region that there were landings from Japanese submarines but they didn't stay too long as the country was pretty inhospitable & well patrolled by the RAAF.

I went to Truscott in 1989 & after nearly killing a Nissan Patrol found the place to be a disappointment as it had been well picked over since the war & also during the Monte Bello Islands bomb tests.

If you are interested in WW2 archaeology the Iron Range airfield & the facilities put in by the yanks at Portland Roads on Cape York are well worth a look. This was a huge facility & a sealed road was even constructed from the port to the airfield & its encampments which is about 20 km. Sadly little remains today except the airfield which is much smaller than it was, oh yes, I forgot the ferals who inhabit the area.

Fortnight to go & we are off!

AnswerID: 19348

Follow Up By: Member - Dave (Pilbara) - Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 15:59

Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 15:59
Corunna is easily accessable I was there a few years ago when Marble Bar had it centenary the air force were flying joy rides to the airstrip from Marble bar. We drove out.There are maps avaiable from the local service stsation at marble Bar.
FollowupID: 12178

Reply By: Allyn (Pilbara) - Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 12:24

Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 12:24
I don't think there's too much that's hidden or unexplored out that way these days as most has been fosicked over & over but I wish you well in your exploits.
AnswerID: 19355

Reply By: herkman - Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 20:17

Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 20:17
I was based in Darwin with the air force in 1961/2.

Prior to Tracey coming, the place had not changed much since the war.

Heard lots of stories, some had basis, but many were just rumours, which had been embelished greatly over the years.

The good thing about going now, is that most of the rumours, have either turned into facts, on are tales that have no substance.

Bob Alford, by all means mention my name, will I am sure be interested in what you say, has done a great deal of research, and world wide is highly thought of as a historian.

If I was twenty years younger, I would love to come with you.

You need also to understand, that 4WD conditions, off established tracks, can cause you manyyyyyyyy punctures, and you need to be careful, that you do not stake any tyres.

Treat with caution, any stories from our "brown brothers", they seem to enjoy stiring up us white fellows, and most of their stories are untrue.

Be also aware that there are still WW2 airmen missing up there, and you could be the means of another mystery solved.

I will dig you out a web site, that will show you all the NT air crashes there from WW2.


AnswerID: 19394

Reply By: herkman - Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 20:41

Wednesday, May 07, 2003 at 20:41
Well Gaz by now you have worked out, I am a aviation historian.

You need to put aside at least two hours to do this site justice.


This will take you to Peters home page.

You can see that all the aircraft crashes, are shown by area and then spilt up into year.

Also have a look at the airfield section, and as you scrole down, there are the five airfields you are talking about.

That should keep your lady happy, she should not hear from you all afternoon.


AnswerID: 19398

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