On the 19th of November 1941 the sinking of the HMAS Sydney, east of Geraldton, by the German raider HSK Kormoran sparked alarm that the war was closing in on the Western Australian coast.
Early in 1942, during World War II, Australian troops built a coast watch post (CWP16) at North Head near Jurien Bay, while other coast watch points were later established at Green Head, Thirsty Point near Cervantes, Green Islets and Wedge Island.
The establishment of CWP 16 at North Head was strategically important due to its height above sea level offering extended views of the coast.
In 1943, a radar station was established at the same site 12kms north of Jurien Bay, which was manned by members of the RAAF. This was known as Radar Station 48. Both Radar Station 48 and Coast Watch 16 sites were dismantled after the war, however two intact igloos, some original building foundations, a below ground water tank and evidence of the military camps are partially visible and accessible from the Sandy Cape access road – high clearance 4WD only.
The Shire of Dandaragan produced a documentary and booklet on the history of the site after archaeological investigations took place between 2015 and 2019. To view the documentary or purchase the booklet (written by B. Sheppard), drop in to the Turquoise Coast Visitor Centre. The booklet is available for $12.
Header photo credit: M.Osborn