Portlands Road Jetty

Naval/port facility
North and Cape York

Iron Range district, Iron Range 4874

During December 1942 the Allied Works Council (AWC) received requisitions for construction of a coast artillery battery to cover the vital US anchorage for Iron Range air base at Portland Roads on Weymouth Bay. The jetty was extended out into deeper water to enable large Liberty ships to berth and unload ordnance, machinery, troops and supplies without having to transfer equipment into lighters and barges. A site was selected for a radar station overlooking Portland Roads jetty, to provide air warning for shipping at the busy anchorage and assist lost and damaged Allied aircraft in transit. RAAF 43 Radar Station became operational at Portland Roads in January 1943.


Prior to 1942, because of its fresh water supply and jetty, Portland Roads was a watering point and anchorage for fishing boats and small coastal vessels trading the east coast of Cape York and Torres Strait.

Today the reinforced concrete defences of the coast battery remain hidden on a hill overlooking the remnants of the wartime jetty. The concrete structures include a command post, battery observation post, upper and lower gun emplacements and two coast artillery searchlight posts above the beach. The gun emplacements now serve as footings for a recent dwelling.


Pearce, Howard (contributing author).

Allied Works Council (Queensland), AWC Minutes 1942–1945, BP1/1, National Archives of Australia, Canberra.
Vera Bradley. I Didn’t Know That: Cairns and districts Tully to Cape York, 1939–1946, Service personnel and civilians, Boolarong Press, Brisbane, 1995.
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.
Howard Pearce (Ed.). Heritage Trails of the Tropical North: A heritage tour guide to far north Queensland, Environmental Protection Agency, Brisbane, 2001.