Machine Gun positions above Tobruk Baths
near Cleveland Terrace, Melton Hill, Townsville 4810
Unconfirmed oral history states that machine gun positions were placed on a cliff (Melton Hill) above Tobruk Memorial Baths during WW2.
Though no archival material has been discovered to confirm this, it is likely positions were placed here due to the commanding view of The Strand beach.
On 29 December 1941, three weeks after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, Australia prepared to defend itself.
In Townsville, the 16th Battalion of the Volunteer Defence Corps (VDC) prepared a document entitled, Suggested Plan for Beach Defence of Townsville.
This secret document listed where counter attacks would originate if the Japanese were to land on Rowes Bay and The Strand.
It is the earliest document discovered regarding Townsville’s Pacific War defence plans.
Being close to the CBD, there were numerous military installations nearby which required protection.
- The Supreme Court on the corner of Cleveland and Melton Terraces. US Court Martial sessions commenced here in 1942. A light anti-aircraft gun (possibly bofors) was located on land to the rear of the Supreme Court building.
- Duncragan (also spelt Duncragen) is located at 4 Cleveland Terrace. This large residence was requisitioned as a US officers billet and as a repatriation hospital during WW2.
- An engineering design section had been established prior to the Pacific War within the Department of Interior’s Works and Service Branch in the nearby Customs House (corner Melton Terrace and The Strand). The superintending engineer was Eric T Doig. During January to September 1942, Doig’s engineering design group were fully occupied with the preparation of design drawings, specifications and contract supervision for hundreds of defensive structures in North Queensland.
- During 1942, sections of this branch were moved nearby to a new building behind the Customs House on Melton Terrace known as the Allied Works Council building. It was demolished in 1980.
Townsville Daily Bulletin Supplement, 16 July 1980
The North Queensland Line: The Defence of Townsville in 1942. Ray Holyoak unpublished Honours Thesis, James Cook University, Townsville 1998.
Volunteer Defence Corps - Defence roles (including reports) operational role and plan, appreciation of the situation, Charters Towers, Townsville, Mt Isa - 1941–1943. 54, 1008/2/48 VIC.
WWII North Queensland. A Cultural Heritage Overview of Significant Places in the defence of North Queensland in WW II. Queensland Government Environmental Protection Agency, 2009.