CAMOUFLAGE TACTICS
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WW2

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visits since 3 July 2004

 

Camouflage techniques were used extensively in Australia during WW2. 

False guns were made out of power poles. Many airfields were camouflaged in an attempt to fool the Japs. 

Garbutt Airfield in Townsville was camouflaged to look like a cemetery from the air. False timber aircraft were scattered around the tarmac areas. Eight 51.8 metre span three-pin nailed arch camouflage hangars were built at Garbutt Airfield

The hangers and administration areas of Garbutt airfield
are camouflaged to look like a cemetery.

The following is an excerpt from the diary of Lt. Commander Lyndon Baynes Johnson's diary, who later became President of the USA. I have reproduced it "as found" on the typed piece of paper that I was given by Bill Bentson in September 2000. It refers to "dummy planes" on the airfield:-

"Saturday, June 6, 1942:  Up at 4:30. Left Brisbane 6:20AM en route to Townsville. Arrived Rockhampton people wearing shorts, Soldiers guarding plane B-17s in shorts. Stubby cut over country. Little vegetation. River circles through. Arrived MacKay -- small shock (city population 50,000) says guards in shorts. 10:00 AM left MacKay 10:15 AM, won half pound from Steve pitching dollars. 1:30 PM near Townsville. See our planes shooting at target ship on water. 11:00 AM circling airport, Townsville. See many of our big planes -- airport only few yards from water -- long level runways -- hills around water -- new construction. Hot now. We are at warm North having come from cold South. Arrived Townsville airport 11:45 AM. Dummy planes all over field. Met by Army car. Departed Townsville Sunday June 7 at 1.00 PM for Charters Towers."

 

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The Forts on Magnetic Island in 1964. My brother Brian Dunn admiring the view. Note the remaining false rock on top of the bunker.

A large bunker at Green Street in West End, Townsville had a timber building built on its roof to give it the appearance of a domestic residence from above. It even had a clothes line. The building on the roof was used to accommodate personnel. 

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Camouflage Poster reproduced
by 6 Aust Army Topo Svy Coy AIF in October 1943

 

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Camouflage Poster No 9, Camouflage Research,
Department of Home Security, Canberra

Athol Bretnall (1909 - 2004) worked as a government architect in camouflage. He designed many installations along the Queensland coast during WW2.

 

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 Peter Dunn 2003

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This page first produced 3 July 2004

This page last updated 23 September 2004