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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. #21

    Default Re: Australian WWII - Far North Queensland Metal detecting and recovery

    I slipped in a comment about "we" amateur MD archaeologists cleaning up the countryside!

    And their response was a huge thumbs up~ on metal detectorists ! All ~ Good there!

    Going to be a bad bad night as I have had an hours sleep and start at midnight till 09.30 and then the Army returning up tomorrow morning ~ and the want me to bring MY MD to asses if there are any more side or near the uncovered box ~

    Did I say the QLD authority blokes said they are not interested in any bullets or what happens to them ~ as I said the box was covered in live rounds ~ and mortar parts and even a "booster" charge ~ When they arrive there are some 20-30 in the hole.

    Don't have to be a rocket scientist to know where the rest went ~ Hehehe! But more we dug the more rounds came out!

    Dio Mac ~ Where are you ? The problem here with spent 303 rounds are they generally seem to rot as this is the Tropics and always pretty wet . But we may be able to work something out ~ PM me ~

    I have started to clean up the rounds with Salt water + lemon juice in an electrolysis bath .. Brilliant results ~ Will post some piccies on that too !

    Taking the video cam tomorrow but don't anticipate the Army will want me/ us hanging around ~ once I have scanned the site with my Garrett for them ~

  2. #22

    Default Re: Australian WWII - Far North Queensland Metal detecting and recovery

    Well ~ that was an intriguing day !

    The Army Demolition blokes picked me up and we headed off to Atherton to 'pick-up " a Police officer to accommodate public liability issues ~

    Turned out there was one case only ~ but heaps more echoes to the right of the box / hole ~ I think I will go back and have another scratch around ~

    (The bloke across the way decided he had to mow his lawn ~ I think he had to struggle to keep his ride on mower on track ~ rather than skirt the spit on foot and just ask What was going on ~ after all it is only just beyond his back yard ! ~ and he had every right to know really !)

    So I scanned the area and found heaps of echoes but I had decided not to bring my pick ~ bad decision ~

    We then took the single cache to the bush at the north side of the dam wall and the blokes found a suitable creek bed. Then they ran the appropriate cables out ~ over the top of a rise and to the creek bed ~

    They laid the 18 ~ HE mortars out and laid plastic explosive over the top to force the blast down ward ~

    And MAN !! despite being over the rise and behind large boulders ~ the explosion was huge !!! ( Well by my experiences

    Apparently a text book perfect explosion ~

    But the major convinced me that the steel box was worthy of attempting a renovation ~ so I will get it sand blasted and paint it up as my relics general box ~ Have not been game to tell Ms M as she is on about me keeping crap !! LOL

    I will place heaps of snaps tomorrow ~

  3. #23

    Default Re: Australian WWII - Far North Queensland Metal detecting and recovery

    Well what a journey ~ compacted into 3 days !

    Tuesday- ~ I found the cache.

    Weds- QLD Gov explosives authority travelled from Townsville to asses the lethality.

    Thurs- Aust Military disposal people travel from Townsville to dispose of the items.

    The blokes picked me up, with Metal Detector, from home and we headed to Atherton to "pick up " an escorting Police officer.

    Then onto the site.

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    I scanned the immediate area while they dug the target.

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    The bloke across the way decided it was time to mow his lawn on his mobile ~ rather coming over and asking what was going on! ( I suggested I should now go over and ask he would liek to pay me to sweep his 'back yard' , as his block is on site for another WWII camp site! )

    Assessing as whether there is one or even more ~

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    Finally out of the hole.

    Moving target off site as the residents are way too close.

    Safe region found ~ back woods bush track ~

    The sign warns of 'suspicious items' ~ The Major explained this entire area is strewn with UXB's.

    Scratch that site !

    (Although I have just been advised on a Military dumping site some 10 km east of home on a farm ! Checking it out soon ~ as a preliminary investigation as this is a serious dump with a WHOLE lot more than blanks and live 303 rounds!! )

    Priming the cache ~ 18 HE 2" mortar shells.

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    Ray over lays 303 rounds ~ ( I have started to clean up te shells I picked up via Electrolysis and salt water process ~ Superb end result ~ will post image/s later!)

    As some of you will know well what happens when the button is pressed on the control !! ~ MAN!! I was stunned as we were some 5-600 metres away in bush and sheltering behind huge boulders !

    Text book result ~ the only left was a webbing carry strap of one container ~

    The Major convinced me that I should consider renovating a genuine artifact with serious history ~ in the steel military period case the shells were housed in'

    I was concerned that Ms M would harangue me as she was complaining bitterly that I keep bringing home all "this crap" and what was I going to do with it ~

    So I parked it on the front yard behind a huge tree shrub!

    But when she saw it when I announced I had bought it home she was wrapped ~Wimen ~ Go figure!!

    Plus I got a BONUS !!! ~ in the form an intact end cap in the rack/s inside the case!

    If you look closely at the bombs you can see many have the end caps intact ~ no amount of subtle suggestion would convince them to remove the caps as souvenirs for me! I counted some 6 plus ~

    Finally the Major ~ "Ray" suggested that 'WHEN' I return to the same site (!) that I should not be surprised if I foid more ~ so they gave me their business card so I can contact them directly ~

    This was job number 36 since January 1 !! (Part of their resume is dealing with Meth labs!! )
    Last edited by AT P Sweep; 07-19-2017 at 06:49 AM.

  4. #24

    Default Re: Australian WWII - Far North Queensland Metal detecting and recovery

  5. #25

    Default Re: Australian WWII - Far North Queensland Metal detecting and recovery

    Still raining up here in FNQ ~

    But I figured Tinaroo is generally pretty safe and in fact it was Superb day out there ~

    I was not keen about visiting the UXB site as the echoes I was getting as they dug the cache was pointing toward more issues and I am not quite ready to open that tin of worms again this soon ~

    So I figured I would go for another site I have been looking at from a far as it is across the lake and is < 2 km > walk ~ I set off about it half way I looked at the time and it was to late to get there assess the potential and then get back ~

    So I about turned and started working back the way I had come ~ and BINGO ~

    Straight up a very dusty 1917 penny ~ so I started to work the high water mark to the current water mark ~ I started getting regular hits ~

    Then Bingo a shoulder medallion~ I kept working up and down marking each run ~

    As time wore on I was getting worn out ~ THEN IT HAPPENED ~

    YES The Sun Gods have FINALLY Smiled on moire ~

    Plus several of the 303 rounds I have cleaned up again electrically !

    But even to the high water mark I was getting misc smalls ~ buckles ~ bullets ~ cases and misc ~ ( I even picked up a very nice solid brass 6" bolt for a locker ~ currently in the electrolysis vat ~ )

    But would I love to sweep his back yard ~

    Then to add spice when I got home the Penny did not match the picture on line ~

    Well ~ it tuned into ~

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    You bloody ripper ~

    But we see Ozzies teaching the Poms in North Africa how to play Two-Up and one UK penny heading south ~ then to be lost in the site !

    A very cool day ! !
    Last edited by AT P Sweep; 07-19-2017 at 06:56 AM.

  6. #26

    Default Re: Australian WWII - Far North Queensland Metal detecting and recovery

    Well ~ Saturday 18 and trying hard to rain .. pleasant <22 deg> Perfect

    I had an observer and hole filler today ~ Paul , a local, contacted me via the War relics site after I posted an inquiry regarding the Mortar projectiles ~

    So I invited him to join me on a recce of the UXB site as I was concerned that there may be more ordnance on site ~

    We did some three hours general wandering and working the UXB site ~

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    Paul thought it was Xmas when I suggested he might like to take the hoard home!

    Ironically I also found 3 or 4 more live 303 rounds else where on the camp site which previously I was totally frustrated as I simply could not find any live 303 rounds .. now they are coming out of the wood work ~

    My only other (modest ) score was three (separate) decimal coppers and silvers ~ A slow day ~ But we made a plan with Paul potentially bring his canoe so i can skip across the dam to the beckoning peninsula across the way, to do a test scan on what I believe was another camp site during the war years.

    Hopefully tomorrow ~

    ( BTW ~ I was impressed when I found the batteries was all but expired on the ATP and it was still delivering on one bar ! but not a habit I care to repeat ! )
    Last edited by AT P Sweep; 07-19-2017 at 06:57 AM.

  7. #27

    Default Re: Australian WWII - Far North Queensland Metal detecting and recovery

    Nice little haul I would have to assume that the camp had a firing range nearby, (95% of them did), which would be the best place for you to search. Have a look at the terrain and see if there are any mounds or high points in the locality. These natural features would often be employed as targeting points. Find them and your finds will increase greatly........not that they aren't already pretty damn good.

  8. #28

    Default Re: Australian WWII - Far North Queensland Metal detecting and recovery

    Cheers Steve

    After my own assessments and the input from the Gov explosives and the Army personnel the general concensus is that this position was in fact the directive point and the firing line was immediately in front of this cache ~ then the firing line was to the west into the hill line beyond ~

    Paul and I worked forward of what I believe was the firing lien and there was little to nothing in regard to fired shell cases ~

    In additional to the previous Smoke mortar shell and the 303 expired cases , I also found two mortar shell end covers ~ Additionally immediately next to the range to the south is a very deep creek bed extension which I did not realise went quite so far into the hill side ~ which would have been a natural barrier and or redoubt trench ~

    So in short I am confident that I / we are in fact working the "local" firing range ~

    The point of collection is the land spit in te distance ` centre of picture and beyond it he timber the hill rises dramatically despite appearing quite flat ~

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    The area in the immediate fore ground and to the right ~ I believe through my sweeping ~ was a workshop area with a lot of mechanical parts and detritus ~ After al the 2/7th Cavalry ran mainly Bren Gun carriers.
    Last edited by AT P Sweep; 07-19-2017 at 06:59 AM.

  9. #29

    Default Re: Australian WWII - Far North Queensland Metal detecting and recovery

    So today was a late start ~ Sunday ~ threat of rain but headed out anyway ~

    I wanted to check out the extended walk to another registered site ~ that walk was around 4 kilometres around the dam waters.

    So i decided to forgo Paul's offer of a canoe to short cut the trip ~ And as a result I only found some detritus of correct time frame but nothing else ~
    But around half way I did unearth a light armour portal hatch ~ ( I neglected to take asnap of it at very least ~ I assuem it was a gunner hatch for a Bren gun Carrier (??)

    This site was actually the camp site listed on another WWII registry , so I figure this oen is the correct position~

    But on the walk back I think I was the centre of amusement as a family sat under the trees of their back yard watching this Metal Detector scanning the fore shores ~

    Here is some of the items I did find ~ a nice 1939 Aust penny and two mystery items ~ ( more trench art of something of better archeological value ??) The triangular piece is puzzling as I have found a few of these and I have no idea what they are ~ Any ideas ?

    Does not obviously include the fork and misc other items ~ or bullet cases ~

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    Last edited by AT P Sweep; 07-19-2017 at 07:01 AM.

  10. #30

    Default Re: Australian WWII - Far North Queensland Metal detecting and recovery


    Wednesday ~ another day off ~ They asked me to work and I simply said ~ No!

    I had planned take the day off ~ and vegetate for the Day ~ But "Paul" was keen to relay some information he had found ~ So I headed out around midday and took the long way to pick up some new gear , the bank , see Paul at work, the Supermarket and finally arrived on site around 13.30 ~

    After last Sunday ~ ( A bee sting~ a tick and a bite inside my boot) ~

    So I geared up properly ~ boot over guards ~ gloves on BOTH hands ~ ~ Sun burn creme~ insect repellent ~ ( after all this is the far north Wet Tropics with high UV ~ )

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    So ~ ready to rock ~ and then metres from the car AND a well swept site ~ Bingo ~

    ( I was once told that the first time for a young man is the hardest mountain to climb ~ once there all that come after are much easier ! )

    Yep !

    I then forged on to reclaim the hatch cover I discovered on Sunday ~

    Still not quite sure ~

    I scanned and goggled looking for light amour vehicles ~ and hatches ~ (but neglected to research stove plates though!!? )

    On the way back I hit up the same high water parameter and discovered all sorts of goodies ~ including sweep parameters & potentials ~

    Best find was a 1914 Sixpence ~ very Cool !

    Found another of those copper plates ...and two strange bullets with heads in halves and containing white powder !???

    And as I was heading home ` and back at the Rising Sun site I found these nice matching buckles ~ with 1939 & 1940 stamped om the rear of each buckle~

    I also found that the back wash from the dam waters on steep embankments tends to wash small treasures down ward !!

    I might just be stuck on this site for ever ~
    Last edited by AT P Sweep; 07-19-2017 at 07:05 AM.

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