33 RADAR STATION RAAF
PEARCE, WA
BUSSELTON, WA
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WWII

 

33 Radar Station RAAF was formed at Pearce in Western Australia on 27 November 1942 and was relocated to its operational location at Cape Naturaliste near Busselton in Western Australia approximately 30 kms north west of Busselton Airfield. It was an AW/COL type Radar Station or Air Warning/Chain Overseas Low Flying type.

The site at Cape Naturaliste was near the existing Lighthouse and was approved by the Director of Medical Services and the Director of WAAAF as being suitable for the accommodation of WAAAFs. The approximate establishment for 33 Radar Station was as follows:-

  RAAF WAAAF
Officers 1 1
Sergeants 4 2
Corporals 15 22
TOTAL 20 25

 


Photo:- NAA

33 Radar Station RAAF was located near the Cape
Naturaliste Lighthouse seen here in about 1917

 

33 Radar Station comprised a ontrol building, an administrative building, a combined mess/recreation/kitchen, latrines, general store, combined ablution/laundry, two power house buildings and living quarters. Two machine gun emplacements for protection from fighter aircraft attacks were also installed.

The steel framed control building approximately 20 feet by 20 feet and 11 feet high was provided by the NSW Government Railways. The rotating mast and aerial was attached to the Control Building. The building was surrounded by sandbags with the sandbags' outer faces protected by timber sheeting.

The power house buildings were approximately 16 feet by 12 feet by 8 feet high and constructed of galvanised iron on a wooden frame. They had 5 feet wide wire mesh doors and a 12 inch ventilation space all around the top of the walls. The floors were 4 inch thick concrete fitted with an engine bed. Earth mounds against the walls up to the ventilation space were provided. The doors and ventilation space were fitted with blackout screens.

Air raid slit trenches 2 foot 3 inches wide and 4 foot 6 inches deep by 100 foot long were provided near the camp area. And another slit trench 15 feet long was located near the Control Building.

A 5,000 gallon water storage tank was provided near the camp. It was estimated that approximately 850 gallons of water would need to be delivered daily to site in addition to roof collected water. Investigations were to be made for the provision of a well. An additional two 1,000 gallon tanks were provided to a number of buildings. The Power Houses had one 500 gallon water tank each.

Administrative, pay and other lofistical support was provided to 33 Radar Station by 4 Recruit Depot at Busselton Airfield.

The following entries of note are from the 33 Radar Station Operations Record Book:-

25 September 1944
Advice was received from the Area Welfare Section that our weekly Picture-Show would be discontinued unless we could make provision for the show to be held somewhere where the machines could be operated from within the vehicle, instead of being transported into the Mess as in the past.

26 September 1944
Work was begun today on the construction of a ramp at the end of one of the buildings to allow the picture van to be driven alongside and the door and an aperture in the wall to be used for projecting the show. All available personnel were employed in this work.

27 September 1944
The ramp was today completed, and everything is now in readiness for the pictures tomorrow.

27 November 1944
To-day being the 2nd birthday of the unit, a party consisting of F/Lt. Stutchbury, S/O Veale and 12 WAAAFs journeyed from 4 RD to assist us in celebrating the occasion - dancing being the main attraction of the evening, together with a few solo items and community singing. A buffet supper prepared during the afternoon by the members was then partaken of and at the conclusion the T/Commanding Officer, F/O Hickman fittingly thanked the visitors on behalf of the members for coming along and making the evening the unqualified success that it was.

1 December 1944
All available personnel were called out at approximately 1515 hours to extinguish a bush fire which at one time threatened the Doover, fortunately the wind changed during the firefight and it was brought under control at 1830 hours.

15 August 1945
The most memorable day yet to be recorded in this Unit's History Sheets, Japan had agreed to surrender. One S/V was logged to-day but Sector did no appear to be greatly interested, due no doubt to the wonderful news just received. To celebrate this most historic occasion all available members journeyed to Busselton to-night to "Send it along" and found the town to be in the throes of hilarity of no mean order. This state of affairs was accelerated somewhat due to the goodfellowship of one of "Mine Hosts" of a local tavern who kept up the flow of amber fluid until the early hours of the next morning and a grand night terminated when our band arrived back at the unit in a very tired but exultant mood.

1 September 1945
Due to the impending disbandment of the Unit, a Social and Dance was arranged for to-night to bid farewell to friends and well wishers who have assisted us in divers ways since the inception of the unit in the Busselton District. Approximately 200 guests took advantage of the invitation and a wonderful evening was spent in dancing supplemented by a few solo items. A sumptuous supper was served in the airmens mess, during this interlude the Commanding Officer took the opportunity of thanking the citizens of Busselton for their co-operation and assistance on all occasions. Responses were made by some of the people present congratulating members on the decorations, supper, and the evening generally and expressing their regret on our departure from the District. A great night was concluded with the singing of "Auld Lang Syne".

15 September 1945
A signal was received at 1130 hours notifying us to cease operations forthwith and to prepare for disbandment. Operations ceased at 1135 hours. An Acknowledgement this signal was immediately despatched.

28 September 1945
Loading completed and barracks cleaned and huts locked ready for departure. A signal was then despatched to A.D. Hqs. Perth notifying them of the completion of the disbandment. So is drawn to completion a very fine effort of 33 Radar Station in our effort to stem the Yellow Horde.

 


Photo:- Andrew Maluish via Tim Blue

Main remaining slab

 


Photo:- Andrew Maluish via Tim Blue

Closeup of main remaining slab

 


Photo:- Andrew Maluish via Tim Blue

Another slab remaining on site

 


Photo:- Andrew Maluish via Tim Blue

Grease traps for mess

 

Marnup is the name of the agricultural property that runs to the edge of the Cape Naturaliste National Park, just inside of which (west of the line) are the remnants of 33 Radar Station. Maybe thirty years ago the State Government drew a straight line south from about the Lighthouse and declared everything to the west to be National Park, and everything to the east - i.e. adjoining the Geographe Bay side of the Cape - to be available for commercial development. That eastern side of the Cape now has a few flashy resorts in situ.

 

Busselton Airfield

 

Busselton W/T Transmission Bunker

 

Busselton Remote Receiving Bunker

 

HF/DF Station
(Does anyone have any info?)

 

4 Recruit Depot Busselton

 

Crash of Tiger Moth A17-614 at Busselton on 6 August 1945

 

Australian Army Units in the Busselton area during WWII

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Tim Blue for his assistance with this web page.

 

Can anyone help me with more information?

 

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This page first produced 16 October 2021

This page last updated 21 October 2021