US RADAR STATION
51 RADAR STATION RAAF
102 RADAR STATION RAAF
POINT DANGER, COOLANGATTA,
GOLD COAST, QLD DURING WWII

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A Plaque on the beach at Coolangatta states that there was a US Radar Station at Point Danger, Coolangatta established in 1942 on the border between Queensland and New South Wales. The radar was located on the location of the Centaur Monument at Point Danger. Some remnants from the radar station site were discovered when the Centaur Memorial was being erected. The 5th Reporting Platoon and the 7th Reporting Platoon of the 565th Signal Aircraft Warning Battalion, US Army were believed to have been the American units that manned the radar at Point Danger.

The Americans erected a barbed wire fence along Petrie Street and across the end of the hill above Rainbow Bay and then down into Snapper Rocks. This fenced off the radar station on the Queensland side of the border. It was a prohibited area to the general public. The US Service personnel lived in a few houses overlooking nearby Petrie Street.

Across the road from the radar site as it drops down into Rainbow Bay, the Americans built a domed concrete shelter which housed two V8 motors which powered a generator to supply electricity to the radar station. The property where the generator was located was owned by the Freeleagus family from Brisbane at that time. The former Consul General for Greek citizens in Queensland was George Freeleagus who told Peter Turner that the U.S. soldiers showed up one day in early 1942 and commandeered the house and transported all of the families furniture down to an auction room in Tweed Heads for the family to collect.

The Americans established a 50 calibre machine gun on the hill overlooking Rainbow Bay. There were others along the end of Point Danger itself. On one occasion the guns fired on the fishing trawler "Valiant" as it attempted to enter the Tweed River. Two of the crew on board the trawler were Frank Slabb and George Browning from nearby Fingal Head. They very quickly turned the trawler around and headed south to the shelter of the harbour at Brunswick Heads. After this incident the local fishermen displayed a white flag on the side of their fishing boats.

Local fisherman, Claude Edds took on the role of reporting suspicious movements at sea to the local military authorities. He became a member of the Naval Auxiliary Patrol (NAP) and he assisted the US Army personnel  in the area.

The Americans did not stay for too long and their site was taken over by the RAAF in 1942.

51 Radar Station RAAF and 102 Radar Station RAAF both spent time at Point Danger at Coolangatta.

 

The Americans built a domed concrete "bunker" to house their generators for the Radar Station.
It can be seen at top right of this 1948 photo just below the road heading to top of the hill.

 

REFERENCES

Hotdogs & Meatpies - World War II on the Gold Coast

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Peter Turner for his assistance with this web page.

 

Can anyone tell me more about this radar unit at Point Danger?

 

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This page first produced 9 February 2003

This page last updated 04 July 2014