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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. #31

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

    Quote by AT P Sweep View Post

    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 ~

    The triangular thing is a primer protector , probably from a 2 pdr A/T round. They should have a number stamped on somewhere. No 30 is 2 pdr No 14 is 3 pdr. They are both similar in size.

  2. #32

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

    Hey Sweep

    I've taken a picture of one of my 2lber cap protectors for you, in situ on a 2lber case so you can see exactly how it was used. Hope you find it useful.

    As for your site, it goes like that mate. I searched an old USAAF airbase here in the Uk once about 5 years ago, then went nowhere else for the following 3 years as it was yielding so many finds !!!!

    Hangarman- My 2lber protectors are all marked No. 17

    Click image for larger version. 

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  3. #33

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


    That shell is a ripper ~ I'd be stoked to find some of them ~

    I have been told of a Army site only km from my front door~ and it sounds intriguing ...

    But that certainly shows me to the point about the clips ! Thanks ~ and for the inspiration ~

    Cheers - SS

    These are as good as I have just yet ~

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    Last edited by AT P Sweep; 07-19-2017 at 06:08 AM.

  4. #34

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

    Well ~ been a real wet week ~ drizzling and showers all this last week ~

    On Saturday three of us decided to take punt on the weather and check out a GPS reference site which is unregistered but well known by those in the know ~ the site does not even have a name as such !

    Near Herberton; it was a Jungle trench and fox hole training area ~

    And when we found it ~ the site is huge with slit trenches and gun positions, even bunkers ~ And more incredibly the site is in amazingly good condition over all considering it was built some 70 years ago ~

    We took two MDs and all I found was numerous blanks both live and discharged ~ Whether it has been worked over or not is debatable ~ but is well worth a revisit when it is not raining ~

    But with the drizzling rain and mist is was positively erry ~ This would be an ideal site for acclimatising the Diggers to the prevailing conditions of New Guinea and the Kodaly track ! ~ Complete with annoyances ~ ticks ~ Leeches and snakes ~

    The photos and video I took does and tells nothing apart from the dense rain forests ~

    We then drove to a disused rail link and an impressive rail tunnel ~ between Atherton and Herberton

    I could imagine the supplies and munitions that were shipped through this tunnel during the war years ~ and the mineral and ores that were trucked back from the mines that peppered the area even earlier~

    Click image for larger version. 

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    A big sleep in to catch on the fact I had 3 hours sleep on Saturday ~ But *decided I would *just go work over the *2/1st Pioneer site *again ~*
    2/1st Pioneer Battalion | Australian War Memorial

    Amusing though, as “we” only discussing Officers razors on the Fossick Kimbucktwo site site this morning as several of us have found the same razors which are highly decorative and as I did find mine along with the Officers pips it would seem obvious that the ornamented ones were exclusive to Officers ~

    And then I go find the plain one as below ~

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Not sure what the two small tubes are on the right but I have seen these before ~ the small (knurled) nut on the top right I believe is a sight adjustment nut from a 303 Lee Enfield rifle~

    The razor is pretty plain affair so may be typical of the standard foot soldiers razor!

    Still cleaning up the live 303s ~ electrolysis with salt water and a piece of stainless steel ~ then paper and finish off with metal polish ~ Brilliant result !

    (* Can any one explain why this post has got the crazies .. No matter what I do with it the picture either duplicate or go where they want to !??)
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture 303 1942 Bullets renovated  (2) (Medium).jpg   Fossick #39 Recce June 13 (23).JPG  

    Fossick #40 June 2 13 (2) (Medium).jpg   Fossick #39 Recce June 13 (24) (Large).jpg  

    Last edited by AT P Sweep; 07-19-2017 at 06:11 AM.

  5. #35

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

    Rain -Rain -Rain ~ ! ~! ~!

    I figure I found te only "dry" place on the Tablelands ~ again ~ Tinaroo dam ~

    Blowing a gale but worked two separate WWII camp sites ~ the water is creeping higher and all I achieved today was to pay tribute to the MD Gods of Pull rings and tabs ~

    Well we are expected to pay a regular homage - tribute, aren't we !?

    I crossed the access road to be confronted with this typical local sign ~

    And for the peace of the Worry Warriors and Worry Warts ~ No - I did not bother going further ~ I have been advised even by the Army / Military folks this area is particularly permeated with UXO Mortars ~

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Oh BTW ~ in the assortment in the previous post ~ My research has shown that the shaft with the tapered head and the round nut is actually a nut and bolt for securing the wooden stocks of a standard Lee Enfield bayonet to the blade ~ have found several of them !

  6. #36

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

    Okay ~ been pretty quiet for a few weeks now ~

    Weds "Paul" and I decided we would leave Tinaroo dam behind us and head Bush to reccee three totally new sites ~ all WWII ~

    The WWII sites up here very extensive and a lot of footwork and research is necessary to find "obscure" sites ~ I have t thank Paul for his diligence in this field ~
    So we headed out Weds afternoon for a few hours to check out the sites, leaving the metal detectors at home!

    On the first site we came across the following chimney, which we have found since that these are quite common in sites around Ravenshoe and beyond. We figure they were a entertainment type hut.

    Second site was a real surprise when we came across these structures ~ had no idea what they are ~

    (Eljay enlightened us and announced that the structure is a radio communications centre ~ Some one asked why they built it in a gully ~ I retorted that in 1942 there was serious concerns about Japanese air raids with Darwin and the Battle of Coral sea all forewarning the presence of the enemy and the far north of Queensland (?) And radio was the essential communication. )

    These were Sun bakers which I picked up off the ground. No digging required ~
    We located a nearby major rubbish dump /s which announced the time slot with many beer bottle fragments dated 1941 – 1945 ~

    Third site was only noted by a single small slab of concrete but is a definite positive ~

    So we headed out Saturday meeting at site #2 ~ After several hours we established a training ground including several trench lines ~ and a firing line ~

    First up we scanned some of the trash heaps ~ I located an unusual bracket with a webbing buckle at either end ~ But amazingly on of the buckles had an intact piece of webbing attached ~

    Any ideas on what this would have been?

    This can be seen in the schematic diagram below ~

    In fact at one point I figured I had followed the fire path of an Owen Gun, locating a number of .32 (?)

    I found shells from the top of the high ground and down the hill~ It would seem the solider was moving down hill pausing behind large Gums to fire. His travel path was down hill as the shells were on the high side of the large trees! Intriguing!

    Paul had to head off around 14.00 hrs and I had a bite to eat before putting another hour ~

    I located a number of bits including the brass units clearly embossed ~ “Simplex Condenser’.

    (Anything in brass and with embossing is a cool find ! )

    Finally in a bid to locate the bivouac areas I headed further back down the track and started fresh ~

    I managed to locate a heap of live 303 rounds but only one was in tact ~ So a different scenario to the fired blanks and rounds which featured in the “training ground further back up the track !

    So essentially I had found a ‘travel path’ ~ so now believe that the camp areas are/ were even further east ! Next time ~

    So no Bren or Owen guns ~ or even Stuart tanks ~ although we did find a number of typical fenders and storage boxes as attached to trucks and lorries of the time !

    (Mareeba War Museum )

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    Last edited by AT P Sweep; 07-19-2017 at 06:14 AM.

  7. #37

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

    Great finds ! The two buckles attached to a webbing strap looks like a handle from a 2" or 3" mortar bomb carrier.

  8. #38

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

    Redirect NoticeClick image for larger version. 

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    Thanks to

    You can see the handle quite clearly at the top of the picture.


  9. #39

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

    The two buckles attached to a webbing strap looks like a handle from a 2" or 3" mortar bomb carrier.
    Thanks for the feed back mate ~

    I figured the thing was something a little bit special ~

  10. #40

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

    So anyway ~ Saturday was a clear cool Winters day in FNQ ~ < 15 deg > Well that's cool for us !!

    Paul decided he was taking his mate to see the Goodlands Training ground which we looked at several weeks back !

    I headed bush to have another look at the radio and training site ~

    I parked and walked about 3 m off the dirt road to find the following ~ Large area where the Army had burnt large amounts of debris ~ and even now 68 years later , the ground has not recovered ~!

    The steel tubes are in fact tent pole unions ~ also there are 100s of those $%$ tent canvas rope eye-lets.. they drive me insane on WWII sites!

    I headed the opposite side of the track where the land was more level and logically would have been more practical for tents and camping ~

    Not a lot happening ~ more historical rubbish ~ Not sure what the other two items apart from the iron base are ~ the middle actually looks like a propellant charge from a Mortar ??

    Further on a Army kitchen site ~ BBQ grill oven ~ grill intact ~

    It was then that Paul arrived with his sons, and a mate from Cairns ~ armed with their new Garrett 250s.

    We had a look at the chimney site but nothing ~ so I suggested we resume the area where I had just found a live 303 round ~

    Immediately all and sundry started getting hits ~ some interesting stuff. In fact Paul found the remains of a large stone ware jar / vase ~ nice piece even though not intact~

    Then two of us started working the graded side of the road ~ Heaps of 303 shells ~ (Pffft! lol)

    But then I scored two safety caps off mortar rounds ! Cool and sale-able relics! Quite amazing that so much stuff could be found in the side of the road in levy banks ~

    I also scored three 303 brass barrel cleaning weights, and numerous webbing buckles! ( I never tire of webbing buckles ~ included rifle - and general ~ )

    Then I moved off the road to the camp side of the road. Paul and his kids were having a ball scoring shells ~ safety clip off a mortar ~ another mortar safety cap~

    More levy bank find~

    We agree this side of the road was a firing line ~

    I was demonstrating the AT Pro to Paul's mate when I found a target which rang 36 ~ no iron signal and I explained that that sort of target was maybe not worth looking at ~ but as it did not ring iron ~ I suggested that we dig it.

    As it was close to a small tree root I whacked the tree root several times ~

    And bugger me ~

    Out pops a Mills grenade ~

    First grenade ~

    We buried it again till we decide whether to advice the Army blokes ~ I will contact them~

    So the days end for me !

    1 * fork

    6 * buckles ( Any ideas on the second last buckle ?)
    I never tire of finding the web buckles ~ )

    1 * live 303

    1 * telephone insulator

    extensive 9 mm rounds

    1* mystery item ??????? Brass

    3 * brass 303 rifle barrel cleaning weights ( gave one to Paul )

    2 * Mortar safety caps (“Remove before firing” ! ) otherwise the mortars are just dead weights and not able to explode on impact !

    2 * boot caps

    1 * pad lock

    Several brass mortar safety cap fragments

    Not including bullet shells

    Definitely a return trip on here ~

    Any tips on the mystery items?


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