LOWANNA SPECIALIST JUNGLE
40 KMS WEST OF COFFS HARBOUR, NSW
Soldiers were taught jungle tactics at the Lowanna Specialist Jungle Training Centre in the Dorrigo rainforests beside the Dorrigo to Coramba Road.
Edward Lynch was the Commanding Officer of the Specialist Jungle Training Center for three years and two months.
An advanced guard had established the site for the training Depot in about late October 1942. Major Allan Crawford 2 IC of the 2nd 7th Infantry Battalion was in charge of the advance party setting up the Lowanna Camp, between returning from the Middle east and being deployed to New Guinea.
By early January 1943 the first fully trained soldiers to pass out from the training centre were ready to join jungle units on the frontline. Army Hygiene Section officers, and tradesmen designed and built the camp, including the huts, ovens, storage, drainage, and sanitation. The camp also included an under-ground storeroom and fly-proofed butchery
Men learnt to shoot from the hip and snipe from tree-tops and how to fend for themselves in the jungle without normal supplies. They studied and practiced the art of camouflage, and practised staying quiet for long periods, and how to move quietly through the jungle. The soldiers encountered large carpet snakes, ticks and leeches, the "waitawhile" bush and the water vine. They learned to eat shrimps from the local streams, and to eat bracken roots.
Well known biologist, Charles Melbourne Ward taught bush tucker and survival skills at the Specialist Jungle Training Centre at Lowanna. Ward kept a live bidgiwong, or water dragon, under the floorboards of his tent. He once opened a suitcase and showed a visiting war correspondents two large live carpet snakes coiled together. Under Ward's guidance one group of men toasted a large snake over a fire and ate it. Others cooked large eels from the creek and cooked and ate them. They also ate wild birds.
I'd like to thank Graham McKenzie-Smith, Peter Reichenbach, Helen Reichenbach, and Dick Baker for their assistance with this web page.
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This page first produced 5 March 2014
This page last updated 07 March 2014