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The main coastal road from Brisbane to Townsville (now the Bruce Highway) was very narrow and very prone to flooding after heavy coastal rain. Many bridges across small creeks were often only single lane bridges. The highway was not capable of handling the military traffic. To help the military move their huge volumes of war stores, replenishments, and troops northwards by truck convoys, the coastal road was widened in some places and passing lanes added. 

The Queensland Railways were also operating to their limit but this was still not enough to meet the logistics expectations of the military. A decision was made to build the Inland Defence Road from near Ipswich to Charters Towers. New roads were built on existing road reserves and existing roads improved to carry the large military convoys.

Today in 2006 there are still some stone pitched bridges just south of Camboon in the Eidsvold area which were part of the original Defence Road. They are no longer capable of taking road traffic but have been preserved for historical reasons.


Gillies Highway

The Gillies Highway was also another defence road built by Australian Engineers, Qld Main Roads and American labour battalions. It connected the Atherton Tablelands to the coast near Gordonvale just south of Cairns.  It followed some old pack horse tracks. Toll gates and sentries were installed to control traffic. Supplies moved north in certain hours and moved south in other time slots.



I'd like to thank John Daly and Bob Prewett for their assistance with this web page.


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This page first produced 5 March 2006

This page last updated 25 January 2020