Dunk Island Airfield

North and Cape York

Dunk Island township, Dunk Island 4852

Long known as a Barrier Reef island of beauty, Dunk Island featured a grass surfaced strip back in the mid 1930s. (DCA LANDING GROUND #601 )

This strip was restricted in length and in no way deemed necessary for Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) normal service use. However the opportunity for it to provide aerial access for maintenance and communication, suited the establishment of a much needed radar station on the island.


Referred to as Radar Station # 27, it was not difficult to camouflage the structure. Indeed, RAAF inspecting officers had real difficulty seeing it from the air. The ORB (Operations Record Book) for the unit mentions several new orchid species being found among the natural camouflage. It quotes the island’s famous beachcomber/author, E J Banfield as writing “This is veritably an orchid grower’s paradise".

Today, the island and its resort still boasts this natural beauty and comparative tourist privacy. Like all Barrier Reef locations it is subject to periodic cyclone activity.


Marks, Roger (contributing author).