Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) High Frequency Direction Finding Station
- Radar/signal station
off Flinders Highway (west of town), Julia Creek 4823
The Julia Creek facility consisted of two concrete buildings. One was a rectangular, reinforced concrete room that housed a generator plant that supplied power to the DF equipment and the barracks which were situated south of the generator room. The receiver console was housed inside a round concrete building, referred to as the 'set room', or 'round house' which stood about 200 metres north-west. The set room was originally equipped with four vertical aerials, referred to as a Marconi-Adcock Aerial System. Initially four trenches were dug, each 60 metres long in the form of a cross with a 7 metre high aerial in each corner. Cables were placed in the trenches, meeting under the centre of the round house. A length of heavy copper wire was laid out in the form of a circle connecting each aerial and when completed was covered with a layer of soil.
Advances in high frequency radio direction finding in Britain in the late 1930s, saw the replacement of early outdated equipment with new Marconi-Adcock sets. In Britain the system was known as HF/DF (High Frequency/Direction Finding) or 'Huff Duff'.
Installation of the new equipment in Australia was well underway before the declaration of war in Europe in September 1939. Adcock-type HF/DF sets were installed as aviation navigational aids on major commercial air routes through Darwin, Groote Eylandt, Karumba, Cloncurry, Cooktown, Townsville, Rockhampton, Archerfield, Port Moresby and Salamaua. Using the Marconi-Adcock system, bearings taken within a 150 kilometre radius were accurate to three degrees and aircraft could 'home' on the DF station when other aids were not available. However, for aircraft beyond 150 kilometres bearings were not as reliable.
In response to Japan’s invasion of the South-West Pacific and the US-led build-up of a defence network in north Queensland, RAAF HF/DF stations were built during 1942 at Julia Creek, Mingela (near Charters Towers), Moongobulla (north of Townsville) and Kairi (on the Atherton Tableland). Only two stations-Julia Creek and Kairi-were of concrete construction, the others being of timber and fibro-cement. Installation of the HF/DF equipment was carried out by the Post-Master General’s Department and the Julia Creek HF/DF station was operational before October 1942.
Julia Creek HF/DF station received several construction allocations through the Allied Works Council during the early part of 1943. However, the installation may have closed by November 1943, when the RAAF vacated a similar facility at Kairi on the Atherton Tableland as other HF/DF stations were established closer to the New Guinea frontline. The HF/DF equipment was dismantled and removed at the end of the war and the barracks were sold. Some time later an attempt was made locally, to remove all trace of the concrete structures. The round house was easily demolished with an explosive charge as it was not of reinforced concrete construction. However, the reinforced concrete generator room remained standing, despite a double charge of explosives. Today the battered generator room can still be seen on the western edge of Julia Creek township, while the concrete rubble of the round house lies scattered on the northern side of the highway.
Pearce, Howard (contributing author).
Allied Works Council (Queensland), AWC Minutes 1942–1945, BP1/1, National Archives of Australia, Canberra.
McKinlay Shire Council interpretive signs, Julia Creek.
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.