Longland’s Gap Jungle Warfare Training Area
Longland’s Pocket Jungle Training Area
- Training facility
- Atherton Tablelands
east off Kennedy Highway (north of Longlands Gap Road), Wondecla 4887
On arrival home from the Middle East and North Africa the volunteer troops of the Second Australian Imperial Force (AIF) who were skilled in desert warfare, had to adapt to the new challenges of jungle fighting in tropical conditions similar to those found in New Guinea and the Pacific islands.
This hilltop area of Longland Pocket State Forest was used in training during long route marches and jungle warfare exercises. It contains a system of foxholes with inter-connecting trenches.
During World War II this area of rainforest was situated between large military encampments at Wondecla, Ravenshoe, Wongabel and Kairi that were occupied at various times by units of the 6th, 7th and 9th Divisions, AIF.
Today the area is on a recent transmission tower access track about 500 metres east of the Kennedy Highway and is hidden in a remnant patch of rainforest south of Mount Hypipamee National Park.
Before the Atherton Tableland was developed as a military region, the Mount Spec district north of Townsville served as a useful jungle training area in north Queensland. Troops from the south as well as the first units of the Second AIF and their commanders, fresh from the Middle East were able to acclimatize and become used to combat in the close confines of the rainforest.
Units of the Australian 6th and 7th Divisions began arriving on the Tableland in January 1943 and started occupying tent encampments around the settlements of Wongabel, Wondecla and Ravenshoe. The 9th Division returned to Australia from the Middle East during February and in April began reforming at camps around Kairi, Tinaroo and Danbulla. Jungle warfare training took place in rainforest country near Tully Falls, and at Longland Pocket, Danbulla State Forest, Mount Edith, Mount Bartle Frere and on Rainy Mountain in the Kuranda Range.
Cairns replaced Townsville during 1943 as the main port of embarkation for Australian troops engaged in the New Guinea campaigns. Amphibious landing exercises were carried out in Trinity Inlet and on the northern beaches. Following the capture of Buna and the end of the Kokoda campaign, Australian operations on the north coast of New Guinea continued with the advance towards Salamaua, the capture of Lae, the subsequent advance up the Markham and Ramu River valleys, the landing at Finschhafen, and the taking of Sattelberg.
Pearce, Howard (contributing author).
Peter Nielsen. Diary of WWII North Queensland, Nielsen Publishing, Gordonvale, 1993
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
PD Wilson. North Queensland: WWII 1942–1945, Department of Geographic Information, Brisbane, 1988.