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Forts Walk family tour planned for Magnetic Island Bay Dayz Festival

31 August 2015

Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) rangers are teaming up with retired Australian Army officer and military history enthusiast David Pierce, to offer defence force families a special ‘behind the scenes’ guided tour of Magnetic Island’s Forts Walk on Saturday 12 September.

The tour along the four kilometre return Forts Walk showcases the best of the island’s views across Cleveland Bay, remains of World War II forts and gun emplacements, and native wildlife including koalas and birds of prey.

"The Forts Walk family tour will be a great day out for Australian Defence Force (ADF) families and offer the opportunity to learn more about Magnetic Island’s involvement in defending Australia during the Second World War," military historian David Pierce said.

"The Forts Walk is an exceptional example of the ADF’s heritage right on Townsville’s door step - an example of tradition, team work, courage and respect," he said.

A $440,000 major upgrade by QPWS last year included repairs to the fortifications, reconstruction of the old road and installation of educational signage incorporating photographs of the construction of the gun emplacements and associated buildings.

QPWS ranger Jo Petersen said Magnetic Island's World War II forts are listed on the Queensland Heritage Register and are among the best examples of such fortifications on Queensland's east coast.

"Today the Forts ruins are protected under the Queensland Heritage Act 1992 and managed by QPWS.

"The Royal Australian Artillery Garrison (coastal) batteries operated the Forts complex from 1943 until the end of the Pacific War in 1945.

"Today remains of two 155mm field gun emplacements overlooking Florence Bay, together with a magazine, a command and observation post and a Royal Australian Navy Port War Signal Station (PWSS) can be seen along the Forts Walking Track," she said.

From 1942 Townsville became a major base for Australia’s expanding military fleet. Cleveland Bay was an important assembly point for shipping and military hardware and therefore needed to be protected from any incoming attack.

ADF families wishing to join the free walking tour should meet at the Forts Walk car park at 8:45am on Saturday 12 September.

More information is available at www.whatsonmagneticisland.com.au.

Last updated
31 August 2015