DID THE JAPANESE LAND
AT YARRABAH ABORIGINAL MISSION
ABOUT 15 KMS FROM CAIRNS DURING WW2

 

As a young lad living with his parents at Yarrabah Mission during WW2, Bishop Arthur Malcom clearly remembers the boom of the big coastal guns at Leper Bay, at False Cape. They would practice fire their guns and the searchlights high on the hill behind the guns would light up the Mission as it swept around the bay and the mountains.

Soldiers from this camp would often walk along the beach near the Mission. One day during a sports activity, some soldiers walked along the beach towards them. One of the older children approached them and started to talk to them. He soon recognised that they were Japanese by their appearance and their poor English. They continued to walk along the beach to the jetty. The children sent someone to warn the white missionaries to hide while another rode his horse to the nearby Australian camp. The children assumed that they were taking photographs of the area in readiness for an invasion.

They did not see how the Japanese arrived on the beach or how they left. They did however hear later reports of a Japanese submarine being seen in the area and supposedly captured near Green Island. The Australian War Memorial records indicate that the Royal Australian Navy had investigated the sighting of a Japanese submarine off Green Island.

Were they really Japanese or were they Allied Intelligence Bureau (AIB) operatives or maybe Netherlands East Forces Intelligence Service's officers from the the "House on the Hill" in Cairns on a training exercise?

Rob Hinxman, a school teacher at Yarrabah, remembers that there was a map of the area taken from the Japanese submarine captured off Cairns. The map was apparently held in either the John Oxley Mapping Section of the Queensland State Library or at the Queensland Maritime Museum. Does anyone know about this map?

 

Can anyone tell me some more about the Japanese submarine
that was supposedly captured off Green Island?

 

REFERENCE BOOK

Bradley, Vera, "I Didn't Know That - Cairns and Districts Tully to Cape York, 1939-1946, Service Personnel and Civilians", Boolarong Press, 1995

 

Can anyone help me with more information?

 

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 Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 2 November 2000

This page last updated 16 January 2017