Ravenshoe Weapons Firing Range
Ravenshoe Rifle Range
- Training facility
- Atherton Tablelands
Ascham Street, Ravenshoe 4888
Australian troops participated in intensive weapons training including rifle marksmanship, as part of jungle warfare, parachute drop and amphibious landing exercises. Ravenshoe rifle range was one of many used by Australian and American military forces on the Atherton Tableland during World War II.
Units of the Australian 7th Division began arriving at the town of Ravenshoe on the Atherton Tableland in January 1943. The Division comprised three brigades each of three infantry battalions, with various support units and service corps-in all about 17,000 men. By March each of the Division’s infantry brigade headquarters and their respective battalions were camped along the Ravenshoe-Mount Garnet road (now the Kennedy Highway) from near Millstream Falls westward to Archer Creek. The 7th Division was replaced by the Australian 9th Division at Ravenshoe from early 1944.
At over 900 metres above sea-level Ravenshoe is Queensland’s highest town. Substantial stands of cedar, walnut, mahogany and pine were discovered in the area in the early 1880s. The first sawmill was built about 1899, but the town was not settled to any extent until the early 1900s. The rifle range was one of the earliest features of the settlement being laid out in 1903. It was one of many rifle ranges established in Queensland country towns soon after Federation, under the new Federal government’s plan to encourage the formation of local volunteer militia units for regional defence. As constructed the range was 700 yards (765 metres) in length.
Ravenshoe rifle range continued to be controlled by the Department of Defence until recently when it was transferred to the Queensland Department of Natural Resources as a recreational reserve. The rifle range is still regularly used by local sporting shooter groups.
Pearce, Howard (contributing author).
Personal communication: Secretary, Ravenshoe Sporting Shooters Association and Graham Hepple, Ravenshoe RSL Association.
Howard Pearce. WWII: NQ: A cultural heritage overview of significant places in the defence of north Queensland during World War II. Environmental Protection Agency, Brisbane, 2009.