Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Roads VI. [Conclusion]

This is coolbert:

"For hours, infinity to right, infinity to left, infinity behind us, infinity before us...the motor roaring in our ears…The boys on the convoy are over-whelmed by the vastness of their country. The nearing tropical north goes through them, impregnates, frightens, exalts, inspires them."

Stuart Overland Highway.

Australian route connecting Alice Springs with Darwin.

"Before WW2, the ‘road’ south from Darwin was an unsealed track that became a quagmire in the wet and a dust bowl in the dry. With the escalation of the Japanese threat to Northern Australia and surrounding sea lanes the authorities realised a road linking Darwin with the south had to be constructed to supply the top end in the event of a prolonged attack by the Japanese"

Guaranteed the Australian military a secure overland supply route to the beleaguered Northern Territories during WW2. 1000-mile road pushed through and completed in record time.

"The construction of the Alice Springs-Darwin Road constituted an engineering feat of considerable magnitude and of great military importance. As sections of the 1000 mile all-weather road was completed, convoys moved supplies between Alice Springs and Darwin."

A paved route unheard of in that part of the world! [Australians refer to a blacktopped, surfaced road as “sealed”] Was made deliberately wide to allow for the passage of military convoys. As with most of these World War Two [WW2] era roads, WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN CONSTRUCTED OTHER THAN DURING A WARTIME EMERGENCY!

The Overland highway was vital to the Australian war effort. Japanese bombing raids against the northern areas of Australia were more extensive than what I had realized.

If you are able to find a copy of the movie, “The Overlanders”, please rent and view. A semi-documentary filmed in 1946. Australian stock men [ranchers], moving their cattle south, away from the danger posed by a Japanese invasion of the Northern Territories. 1 million cattle were moved south in the traditional manner, a cattle drive as you would have seen in the American West, circa 1870.

"drovers droving a large herd of cattle 1600 miles overland from the Northern Territory outback of Australia to pastures north of Brisbane, Queensland during World War II."

[during the movement south, the Overland Highway is encountered by one group of stock men. Paved with “bitumen” is the remark heard!!]




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