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Australian WWII - Far North Queensland Metal detecting and recovery

Article about: Hi Blokes ~ I am posting this as an going blog for interested parties that have been following my fossicking of (extensive) WWII ~ Far North Qld Australia . This area has been described in r

  1. #191



    Yes Steve ~ I got a tad confused over that and actually was just discussing the same thing with a MD Buddy ~

    Ironically I recall you stating that it was best to be wary of HE 20 mm rounds and I asked self how does one know if it is a HE round , in the rough/ wild or not. And having said that that particular round ( 20 mm ) was I thought a solid shot , till I soaked it for about two weeks in molasses ~

    It turned out to be hollow ~ that would make it a HE round ~ yes !?

    And the AP head I adapted to the case is one I found recently in the dam waters too ~

    I have not sen a lot of the Heavy gauge rounds stuff as yet ~ apart from the 40 mm / 2 lbers~

    Intriguingly yesterday `

    a bloke at work literally wandered into my conversation at work regarding UXOs and the shells I have ~

    And his conversation went something like this ~

    “ Oh really Stuart ~ you have dealt with grenades and mortars then ?

    Funny my block is littered with stuff I am sure they made the young blokes run up and down the hill on my block ~

    It does worry me that I may be liable if some one was to find grenades by mistake and hurt them selves ~

    There is stuff every where ~ bullet shells and mortar fines ~ Oh ~ 2” mortar so they were the personnel mortars not the big ones ~ and there are many trenches and fox holes still there “

    And ended with .. “Oh yes Stuart you are more than welcome to have a look and see what's there ~ just let me know and I will arrange with the cocky that leases the property that you are coming ~ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    So it does pay to talk to folks about these things ~ and recently our Munitions expert did say to me that very area has areas and properties that have not even been touched ~

  2. #192


    LOL! That's how I find a quarter of my sites Stuart.........random conversations!

    The best way of telling if a 20mm projectile is HE is by the brass nose cap. No brass nose cap, usually safe. I say usually because there is a chance the HE is base fuzed. If your 20mm is hollow from the BASE then it could be incendiary or possibly tracer. But if it is hollow, it is safe anyway!

  3. #193


    Cheers Steve.. appreciate that clarification ~

  4. #194


    After some 4-5 days debate we decided to do another Sunday team recce to the Bush pioneering/ mining site and Aust WWII Military training grounds.

    As we have yet to find the actual targeting site for the two pounders ~ ( and we believe more larger calibre guns ) we figured at least another search and find operation was in order.

    As the temperatures have been pretty mild considering that this is Summer now in Australia, the temperatures have been well down on the average at around 25 deg C , ( which is a total contrast to our Stalingrad compatriots!)

    This is particularly relevant to the area north of home ground where temperatures are significantly higher normally, despite only being some 80 kilometres from home base.

    As a result we rendezvoused at 07.00 AM, where as we would normally be on site by such time, geared up and ready to rock and roll ~ !

    So the team was made up of three regulars and a Cairns “newbie”, Terry who is a long time MD / fossicker and a relative novice to WWII sites . Although Terry is keen to now join our group as a team member in WWII searches.

    So on arriving we parked the Land cruiser strategically in the central area of the site and geared up ~

    Primary target was to final nail down where the “rail trench” was for the two pounder guns which targeted a moving steel impression of a “Japanese tank” . Three of us set out with that objective. Terry being the methodical old hand worked carefully around the parked 4*4 in the old township site ~

    The entire area was originally a Pioneer village based on mining of Copper, Tin, silver and lead. After the First World War and subsequent World depression of the 1930s finally sounded the death Nell for the town.
    During WWII and the Pacific war the entire area was used for training ~ including the town site, as a target area for light to heavy artillery.

    The town site involved the digging of trenches which accommodated semi- mobile target’s for the anti-tank guns primarily which fired solid shot anti-tank shells directly at the moving target~

    As we set off on our planned course we detected a lot of brass rifling frags associated with shells ~ After some 70 years since the guns were in place there is little obvious evidence of the Army or for that matter of a pioneer township apart from misc. rubbish and detritus.

    Some of the shrapnel in the town site suggested larger calibre than just 2 pounders. Even today solid practice heads can be found!

    But after approx. 30 minutes walking we found the first evidence in the shape of a very battered steel picket ~ This we believe was an anchor for one of the trench target operations. Obviously it has taken quite a few solid shot hits from the guns.

    Shortly after we found what was left of the first trench, facing to the south East. This correlated with the 2 pounder gun positions which we know to have been some 250 m to the SE . We located some 4 separate trench lines !

    With some evidence of the impacts inflicted by the guns there was very little else to be found. So the three of us did a loose sweep west back through the township ( town by name only as there are no buildings remaining) site toward the vehicle.

    The photos do NOT give justice to the degree of the trenches ~ they are far more obvious than these ~

    Again there was heavy trash areas and even shrapnel ~ which created a blend of the township and military presence.

    One stage I received a call on the (UHF) radio which went like this ~ "Oh Stuart - guess what we found a coin!"

    "REALLY ~ fantastic! Nineteenth century or 1940s? "

    " Well it was a surprise as we had to dig same 6-8 inches down for it ! ~ " Pauses ~ "It's a TWO CENT COIN!!"

    "WHAT THE ~ in this area and so deep ! Bizarre!! LOL ( Post 1967!)

    We spent further time exploring another potential fire range at the rive rside on the opposite shore but found no positive evidence of firing, in either shrapnel or typical rements of practice rounds.

    This was prove not to be my day ~ ( The MD Gods had decided that one 1887 Maltese Queen Victoria cross was enough on this site for this lil puppy! )

    The only thing I found, apart from the standard horse shoe which I always take home on this area, as the brass wick adjuster & fixture from an old lantern. One of the other blokes found six 2 pounder flat head rounds! But overall apart from a great day out there.

    Donated to my collection by Paul (Atherton) , the big winner on the day by far !

    ( *** PLEASE Note ~ this last comment as below ~ has been since explained~ and I completely appreciate that is why my application was passed over ~ )

    Paul S referred em to the site and I noted that a comment was made that they have little 2 pounder references or experience on site ~

    I applied for membership and they rejected me ~ despite my being associated with the Aust Cartridge collectors Assoc. )
    Last edited by AT P Sweep; 12-24-2013 at 08:59 AM.

  5. #195


    Enjoyed your posts over the year mate. You do a fine job I say.
    Have a good Xmas and the hope that next year brings you more cool finds.
    Again great work.

    Cheers mate

  6. #196


    I look forward to reading your posts with anticipation! They make a great read. Keep the updates coming and have a Great Christmas.
    I love the flat head shot.

  7. #197
    4md is offline


    I wonder where the BHP shell was made, possibly whyalla, the building next to our machine shop used to be a shell annex during the war.
    although it could be kembla or newcastle......Interesting find


  8. #198


    Here is my current Two Pounders, the best of ~ including the two anti-tank Bull nose with clear print and 1 * AP slug plus the broken base also with good print~ ` not included is the (brass) shell case and two other sad Bull Nose anti tank slugs .

    All are now either in the molasses for the first time or been returned for another go ~

  9. #199


    I haven't commented on this thread, but have read and enjoyed every post. Thank your for letting us enjoy following your finds, I am really jealous, would kill for some of those finds

    Thanks again, I look forward to this thread every weekend!

  10. #200


    Thanks Blokes for your positive comments ~

    I enjoy sharing my/ our team outings as much ~

    After all if there is no feed back on a Blog, the whole thing starts to become more a little boring !

    Cheers and Best of luck and good fortune to all for the season ~ no matter what your religious or cultural persuasions ~

    ( And I will post the Molasses update in a few weeks ~ and oh ~ I am working on a comprehensive portfolio of all my finds as it is now 12months +1 to the day since I first opened the carton with my Garrett MD ~

    Then sold the motorcycles to focus my interests on a fascinating region of Australia !)
    Last edited by AT P Sweep; 12-25-2013 at 04:22 PM.

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