Dummy gun positions

Castle Hill

Civil defence facility

Upper Gregory Street, North Ward 4810

In 1946 the remains of two dummy anti aircraft gun positions were located in the vicinity of upper Gregory Street on the slopes of Castle Hill. These consisted of sandbagged positions, partially covered with camouflage netting. Tree trunks or telephone poles were mounted to resemble anti aircraft guns.


After the fall of Lae and Salamaua to enemy forces, daylight reconnaissance by Japanese long range aircraft occurred several times between March and late July 1942 when Townsville experienced its first air raids. On at least two occasions, four engined Kawanishi 'Mavis' flying boats were fired on by anti-aircraft guns in broad daylight prior to the night raids. The aircraft flew over Townsville at midday as the absence of sun shadows to distort building outlines enabled clearer images of base installations and the port facilities. These intelligence gathering missions would be used to pinpoint bombing targets in the July 1942 air raids.

Efforts were taken by the authorities to camouflage sections of Townsville beyond the standard practice of painting the roofs of buildings in camouflage or non-reflective paint. By May 1942 a section of Garbutt air base was painted to resemble an extension of the Garbutt suburb. Nearby Belgian Gardens cemetery gained an extension with false 'grave' sections extending over the base area. A misleading indication of fighter strength in the city was created with the construction of full size balsa wood and canvas 'fighters' scattered around the aerodrome.

At a ceiling height of some 25,000 feet, Japanese reconnaissance aircraft may also have gained a false impression of Townsville’s anti-aircraft gun numbers.


Interview with R Holyoak Snr, July 2010.

The North Queensland Line: The Defence of Townsville in 1942". Ray Holyoak unpublished

Honours Thesis, James Cook University, Townsville 1998.

[Camouflage - Methods] Camouflage Works, Volume 2, Townsville Fort Areas [Photo album] [Oversize item] AWM 54, 161/3/2.

[Camouflage - Methods] Camouflage, Anti Aircraft Guns and Machine Gun Posts, 15 April 1942, AWM 54, 161/3/27.