Iron Range United States Army - Australian Bakery
USA RAAF Australian Bakery
- Supply facility
- North and Cape York
Lockhart River Road, Iron Range 4874
A bakery was operating at Iron Range by 1942 although bread was scarce. Initially this was probably provided by an Australian unit and the US and Australian forces may have joined efforts to make the baking facility serve both administrations. The location was noted by a road surveyor on a 1945 MRC survey plan as 'USA RAAF Aust' Bakery'. The bakery was situated in a rainforest clearing and contained four igloo-shaped clay ovens set on an earth base, alongside iron store sheds, water tanks and tent accommodation. Today the rainforest has again taken over and little evidence of the bakery remains except for several concrete footings, one inscribed 'S Hooper 5/12/43'.
The bakery site was located just behind the unofficial Iron Range post office which was built in 1936 for miners in the area, but closed during the war years. The post office reopened after the war and became known far and wide as 'the Green Hoose' after its owner’s thick Scots accent.
Following the outbreak of war in the Pacific and the Japanese invasion of New Guinea in early 1942, Iron Range was chosen as a site for an advanced operational base to disperse and replenish Allied aircraft from New Guinea, and to serve as a field from which strikes could be mounted if Port Moresby was captured. Construction of an airfield for use by heavy bombers was begun by US Army engineers in June 1942 and completed by the Queensland Main Roads Commission (MRC) for the Allied Works Council. US bombers were operating from Iron Range by September 1942. The project involved the construction of runways, gun emplacements, bridges, a water supply, hospital, radio communications and port facilities at Portland Roads. Installation of a refrigeration plant and cold room helped to overcome the problem of maintaining supplies, and a field bakery was set up to provide fresh bread for the large population of US and Australian service personnel and construction workers.
Pearce, Howard (contributing author).
Roger Marks, Photo Memoir of Iron Range Airfield and Portland Roads, 2004.
Michael Musumeci, Iron Range Airbase: Carved in the Cape York Jungle 1942–1945, 2008.