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Townsville Naval Base HMAS Magnetic to be Recognised with New Memorial

Pictured above: Phillip Thompson with Maritime Museum of Townsville managing curator Robert De Jong

A little-known naval base operating 80 years ago between Anzac Park and Ross Creek will be commemorated with a new memorial.

Shadow Assistant Minister for Defence and Herbert MP Phillip Thompson said the World War II Defence Base HMAS Magnetic would be honoured with a new plaque on the original site.

“Earlier this year I was contacted by the team at the Maritime Museum of Townsville with the idea to install the memorial,” he said.

“There should be more recognition of HMAS Magnetic. As a garrison city which is extremely proud of its military history there’s no question we need something to remember it by.

“I supported the Museum’s application for a grant under the Saluting their Service program, and I’m very glad they’ll be provided with $5000 to install the permanent fixture in time for the base’s 80th anniversary.”

Maritime Museum of Townsville managing curator Robert De Jong said HMAS Magnetic had a rich history and a sizeable proportion of its staff consisted of Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service officers and ratings.

“HMAS Magnetic was a shore based naval depot in Townsville - one of the many new naval stations that sprang up along the Australian coastline during the Pacific War,” Mr De Jong said.

“The primary functions of Magnetic were communications, Port Examination Services and as a service centre for Allied warships. Townsville was an important staging post for Australian and US personnel, and the port saw many supply and troop ships carrying personnel and materials north during the New Guinea campaign.

“It played an extremely important role so we’re extremely grateful for Phil’s support to obtain the funding for the project, which will hopefully help the community better understand our local military history.”

“The base was located between Sir Leslie Thiess Drive and Ross Creek and included the present-day ferry terminal, TEL building and car park and part of Anzac Park. The plaque will be erected at a suitable spot inside this area.”

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