A proud his­tory and bright fu­ture

Townsville Bulletin - - Text The Editor - From pre­vi­ous page

to meet the chal­lenges of sol­dier­ing in the 21st cen­tury, as part of the 11th Brigade.

Lo­cals and tourists vis­it­ing The Strand only to have to look up to the for­ti­fi­ca­tions of Kiss­ing Point to be re­minded of the city’s early mil­i­tary his­tory. The first pri­or­ity of the for­mer colo­nial gov­ern­ment was the pro­tec­tion of coastal ports, and Townsville was no ex­cep­tion. Con­struc­tion work be­gan at Kiss­ing Point in 1890, and by 1891 the site was ready for its guns — two 6-inch g u n s a n d a 1 0 - b a r r e l l e d Nor­den­feld ma­chine-gun.

At the same time, for­ti­fi­ca­tions were com­pleted at the for­mer Mag­a­zine Is­land ( also known as Mag­a­zine Hill) in the Port of Townsville, en­abling two guns and a ma­chine-gun to be placed there.

Townsville’s role dur­ing World War II was a piv­otal one – cru­cial to the suc­cess of Al­lied op­er­a­tions in the Pa­cific. At one stage, more than 90,000 United States and Aus­tralian ser­vice per­son­nel were based in the city, far out-num­ber­ing the civil­ian pop­u­la­tion. The city’s im­por­tance was not lost on the Ja­panese. In July 1942 they con­ducted three sep­a­rate bomb­ing raids on Townsville, in­flict­ing very lit­tle dam­age. Some re­minders of those days can still be seen – the ‘ forts’ on Mag­netic Is­land are one of many.

The ma­jor De­fence mile­stone af­ter World War II was the es­tab­lish­ment of Lavarack Bar­racks. Prime Min­is­ter Harold Holt of­fi­cially opened the bar­racks on July 29, 1966 an­nounc­ing that it marked ‘ the be­gin­nings of an out­stand­ing mil­i­tary es­tab­lish­ment in Aus­tralia, adding to the se­cu­rity, strength and di­ver­sity of life in the North’. The sub­se­quent ar­rival of large num­bers of sol­diers and their fam­i­lies played a di­rect role in Townsville’s ex­pan­sion as a city and vi­brant re­gional econ­omy. And when Cy­clone Althea struck the city in 1971, the army and air force swung into ac­tion to play a key role in help­ing those in need. Fur­ther De­fence growth oc­curred in the late 1980s with the es­tab­lish­ment of the Army’s 5th Avi­a­tion Reg­i­ment at RAAF Base Townsville. Cur­rently op­er­at­ing Black Hawk and Chi­nook he­li­copters, the reg­i­ment has close ties with the city. In the mid-1990s, Ross Is­land Bar­racks was opened in South Townsville and the 10th Force Sup­port Bat­tal­ion – one of the big­gest units in the Aus­tralian Army – was es­tab­lished here, bring­ing more De­fence per­son­nel to the city.

In re­cent years, Lavarack Bar­racks and RAAF Base Townsville have un­der­gone a se­ries of ma­jor re-de­vel­op­ments, worth hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars.

The rede­vel­op­ment is on­go­ing, pro­vid­ing new fa­cil­i­ties and adding to op­er­a­tional ca­pa­bil­ity in the North.

An­other ma­jor in­crease in per­son­nel and re­sources will oc­cur when 3RAR re­lo­cates to Townsville at the end of this year.

The lo­cal com­mu­nity has sup­ported its De­fence mem­bers like no other city in Aus­tralia, wel­com­ing home per­son­nel from over­seas de­ploy­ments to places such as So­ma­lia, Cam­bo­dia, Rwanda, Bougainville, Timor Leste, Iraq, the Solomon Is­lands, Afghanistan and post-tsunami re­lief ef­forts in In­done­sia. It even goes back fur­ther to the Viet­nam era, when bat­tal­ions de­ployed from Townsville.

A s C o m m a n d e r o f t h e Lavarack-based 3rd Brigade, Bri­gadier Stu­art Smith is the se­nior Aus­tralian De­fence Force of­fi­cer in North Queens­land.

The 3rd Brigade traces its di­rect lin­eage back to World War I. Un­der the com­mand of Colonel Sin­clair Ma­cla­gan, 3rd Brigade troops were among the first to storm the beaches at Gal­lipoli on April 25, 1915.

1967 was a sig­nif­i­cant year with the for­ma­tion re-raised as the 3rd Task Force and pri­mar­ily struc­tured for op­er­a­tions in South Viet­nam. 1981 saw 3rd Brigade again con­nect­ing with its roots, tak­ing up its orig­i­nal ti­tle and re­join­ing the 1st Divi­sion.

While proud of its tra­di­tions, the 3rd Brigade is also for­ward­fo­cused and ver­sa­tile, able to adapt to meet new chal­lenges as they arise in com­plex se­cu­rity en­vi­ron­ments world­wide.

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