75th Anniversary of Fort Tomaree

Shane Goodwin, a passionate War History enthusiast, will take you back in time as you trek with him up Tomaree Mountain.  Photo by Jewell Drury
Shane Goodwin, a passionate War History enthusiast, will take you back in time as you trek with him up Tomaree Mountain. Photo by Jewell Drury

This year commemorates the 75th Anniversary of World War II.

On 19 February 1942, 188 Japanese planes were launched against Darwin, whose harbour was full of Allied ships.

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It was the largest Japanese attack since Pearl Harbour, 7 December 1941.

June 1942 saw Tomaree Mountain turned into a massive fort.

Its role was to stop a potential Japanese landing force trying to take the Tomaree sandhills, the Newcastle Steel Works and the Hunter Coal Mines.

Regular walkers may be aware of the history from the storyboards placed on the mountain of Fort Tomaree, but few would be aware of the many hidden treasures off the popular walking tracks.

Shane Goodwin is a passionate war history enthusiast and knows Tomaree Mountain and its history like the back of his hand.

Mr Goodwin takes guided tours through the mountain, recounting stories and pointing out many World War II remnants that would normally go unnoticed, including a machine gun pit that is covered with natural vegetation.

Bay News Of The Area was invited to trek with Shane Goodwin on the original 1942 Patrol Paths.

500 Servicemen manned the mountain in 1942 and Mr Goodwin has spent thousands of hours examining wartime maps, researching and documenting the area with GPS markings to identify every significant site.

“This area was also used as a training facility for more that 20,000 allied troops to practice landing strategies,” Mr Goodwin told Bay News Of The Area.

Yacaaba Head opposite Tomaree was set up as a decoy fort and included a Gun Emplacement made out of wood, while camouflage netting was used to make Fort Tomaree look like a fishing village in the hopes of confusing the Japanese.

Hidden off the main track and virtually unseen is the battery plotting room which also doubled up as an observation post and controlled the entire mountain.

The buildings and remnants of this time are covered in graffiti and are completely overgrown but Mr Goodwin plans to change all of that.

His hopes are to increase the number of people visiting the area which would cause the NPWS fees to grow and then to lobby council and the NPWS to use those park fees to refurbish and maintain the area so it will remain for future generations.

You can contact Shane Goodwin at Escape Trekking Adventures.

By Jewell DRURY

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