26th Australian Infantry battalion

North and Cape York

Bunker complex, Horn Island 4875

This unit was raised in central northern Queensland in June 1939, under the command of Lt.-Col. H.W. Murray. The men originated from places such as Hughenden, Richmond, Julia Creek, Cloncurry, Mt Isa, Winton, Longreach and surrounding areas. Between their formation and May 1942, the unit spent time in Townsville, Bowen, Charters Towers, Barron Waters and Kuranda. B, C and D Companies arrived at Horn Island on 28 May 1943 as part of McArthur’s Moultrie Plan, while A Coy travelled to Merauke. The Moultrie Plan saw a build up of troops and airmen to Torres Strait to support McArthur’s flank on his northern push through New Guinea.

As there were not enough troops to defend Horn Island, a mobile defence force was established, with the majority of the men coming from the 26 Aust Infantry Battalion, while other platoons were sent to Goodes, Entrance, Hammond, Wednesday and Tuesday Island to provide infantry support to artillery.


At least six reinforced concrete bunkers, and a gun emplacement, connected by Slit Trenches. Bunkers are 2.5 X 2m in area, 1m high with 20cm thick walls and ceiling. One bunker bears graffitti with details of three individuals from 1943.

Gun emplacement opens off the Slit Trench, and would have contained an 18 pounder Bofor Gun. A 10.6m high rock wall runs adjacent to the Slit Trench—sandbags would have been placed along this in wartime. Overgrown by vegetation, but this provides some protection.


Vanessa Seekee Torres Strait Heritage