31 RDF RAAF (Later 31 Radar RAAF) was established at Richmond, NSW on 5 February 1942.

31 RDF relocated to Dripstone Caves, in the Northern Territory in early February 1942 and became operational on 22 March 1942.


Photo:- via Bob Meredith

31 RDF Station, Dripstone Caves, Darwin, March 1942


Photo:- via Bob Meredith

31 RDF Station, Dripstone Caves, Darwin, March 1942


Photo:- via Bob Meredith

"Upon a Lonely" Hill" by A. Fielder-Gill 31 Radar - Dripstone Caves 1942-44
Presented to 41 Wing RAAF on 22 March 1992
The 50th Anniversary of RAAF Radar
by WWII RAAF and WAAAF Radar veterans


Sketch of 31 RDF area by Bob Meredith


Dripstone Caves area as remembered by Bob Meredith


Photo:- via Bob Meredith

Bob Meredith at "High Point" with his hut in the background with
camouflage net. Note the motor generator in the background with Mal
Snowden. You can see the shadow from the camouflage net on the ground.


Photo:- via Bob Meredith

Bob Meredith with Rock Python - length 11ft 6 inches. Note the
generator in the background covered with a camouflage net


Photo:- via Bob Meredith

Left to right:- Guards Berti Borg and Jack Allen


Photo:- via Bob Meredith

Mal Snowden (later killed) on the left with Bob Meredith on the
right. Their camouflaged hut can be seen in the background


Photo:- via Bob Meredith

Their camouflaged hut (except for the white towel). It was built without nails from
scraps of bombed out buildings. They mainly used wire to tie everything together.


Photo:- via Bob Meredith

Jack Webster on the left with Bob Meredith on the swing bridge over Rapid Creek
which was located a short distance down the coast from the RDF Unit.


Photo:- via Bob Meredith

Bob Meredith with camouflaged hut in the background


Photo:- via Bob Meredith

Their hut with camouflaging net above it. This is the front door to the hut. Generators can be
seen at far left and a "Borrowed" bicycle can be seen on the ground at bottom left.


Photo:- via Bob Meredith

Poor photo - Taken from the top of the cliff very close to 31 RDF Unit. Some swimmers can be
seen in the middle of the photo. Note the barbed wire fencing in the foreground which was sitting
on a mine field. The personnel at 31 RDF had a path through the mine field to have a swim.


Photo:- from Bob Meredith

A monument to 31 Radar Station erected at Dripstone Caves

31 Radar relocated to Fenton in the Northern Territory on 14 January 1944.

Records are not that clear, but I believe that some personnel from 31 Radar were relocated to a Radar site at North West Cape in WA on 12 January 1943 and they later went on to become 310 Radar on 1 July 1944.

There is a Radar Memorial Plaque dedicated at Casuarina Beach, Dripstone Caves.




Firstly this secret and new weapon was known RDF (radio direction finder.)

It was not until September 1943 it became Radar (RA-dio Direction And Ranging).

It became operational on 22 March 1942 at Dripstone Caves Darwin know as 31 RDF Unit, the very first unit to make contact against the enemy (Japanese Naval Air Force) in the whole Pacific War.


Barefoot Berti Borg at DRIPSTONE CAVES(31 RS)

Berti Borg (Ser. No. 38485 Robert Borg), who was a Maltese lad was a very nervous chap as he had experienced the first raid on RAAF drome in DARWIN. The time was the early days after 31 RDF became operational and we were subjected to many air raid alerts, particularly at night - they became a real nuisance. 

One moonlight night, about 0200 a air raid went out and of course those of us who were asleep, woke up and rushed out to the slit trenches. After a while we noticed that one of our number was missing, Berti Borg as usual, so we yelled out to wake him up.

Then out he came flat out and passed us at 100 miles per hour and headed straight for the 60 foot cliffs. We roared out to him telling him where we were. He stopped, turned and jumped in with us. When the all clear sounded it was noticed that Berti was barefooted he said that he had boots on when he left the tent. So we went looking for them down the track towards the cliffs and there they were together, facing out to sea at the very spot where he had turned to come back to us.

He had stepped clean out of them without altering the direction in which the boots were heading.



I'd like to thank Bob Meredith for his assistance with this web page.



Units of the Royal Australian Air Force - A Concise History - Volume 5 Radar Units
Compiled by the RAAF Historical Section


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İ  Peter Dunn 2015


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This page first produced 14 June 2009

This page last updated 13 January 2020