There are a few WW2 plane wrecks around the area, the easiest to find is the DC3 that crashed in 1945. This one is situated just off the side of the road to the Bamaga Airport.
The DC3 aircraft, operated by the RAAF, departed Archerfield Airport in Brisbane en route to New Guinea. On 5th May 1945, the plane clipped some trees and crashed at this site in Bamaga and all on board were killed.
From what we’ve read, the RAAF personnel killed were initially buried at Jackey Jackey War Cemetery, but were later relocated to the Townsville War Cemetery. Jackey Jackey Airfield (now known as Bamaga Airport) was named after Jackey Jackey, the Aboriginal friend of Edmund Kennedy, and the only survivor of the Kennedy expedition.
This particular wreck is fairly well-preserved and the most intact of the wrecks.
After checking out the maps it looked like there were two more wrecks located out past the airport so we went in search of these. After venturing off into the bush we ended up finding the Beaufort Bomber.
As you drive through the bush you pass numerous fuel dumps from WWII. There are literally thousands of rusting fuel drums lying around.
We then tried to follow our paper maps to make our way to the second plane wreck in this area, a Kittyhawk. Our track was gradually getting deeper into the forest and the track was getting narrow and very overgrown. After weaving our way through the bush on tracks that looked like they hadn’t been driven in years, we finally worked out why they looked that way …. the track was blocked off!! Now that was fun trying to turn four 4WD’s around on a tight track …. and I meant tight, at times our brush bars were nearly touching trees on either side of the track as we were driving.
We later heard that the third plane wreck has now possibly been removed.
Both planes have fences around them, but other than that they are open to the elements and it’s amazing how intact these planes actually still are. If this was in Sydney they would have been vandalised, covered in graffiti, stolen or scooped up and placed in a museum, which is great for preservation, but you lose some of that history and ‘feeling’ of being there. This is what we both absolutely love about remote travel, most people actually have respect and it’s because of this that these important sites can remain.
Both of these planes lay where they crashed, it’s quite a sobering and eerie feeling to know that you are standing in the exact place that people lost their lives. At the same time though, it’s great that these crash sites are still there and we can pay our respects. Each site has a plaque and it’s a nice memorial to the personnel who died in the plane crashes, selfless men and woman who made the ultimate sacrifice for us.
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We are George & Shelly, a married couple from Sydney, Australia, who love 4WDing, camping and travelling this great country of ours. We love sharing our adventures and hope to inspire others to travel as well. Join us on our journeys around Australia!
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