On Sunday 21 July at 2pm, Livingstone Shire Council will host a memorial service alongside Australia and US Military personnel, to remember those who lost their lives in the second largest Australian air disaster.
A C-47 military aircraft, Douglas Dakota, was travelling from Townsville to Brisbane when it tragically went down at Canal Creek, a location north west of Yeppoon. This fatal event occurred on 19 December 1943 at 9.20am and recorded a total of 31 deaths.
Mayor Bill Ludwig said although this story is tragic, it is an important part of the region’s history and is acknowledged in a biannual service held by Livingstone Shire Council at the memorial site.
“Credit must go to the Capricorn Coast Historical Society for the research they’ve done over many years which has seen publications containing information and details about the crash as well as the establishment of a historic visitor trail where people can visit not only Canal Creek but other important sites relating to military activity in our region during World War Two,” Cr Ludwig said.
“I’d also like to acknowledge the efforts of John Millroy and Brian Fisher in securing the funding for the construction of the current memorial.”
Deputy Mayor Nigel Hutton said preserving our region’s history was incredibly important, so future generations may keep these stories at the heart of our community.
“As we commemorate this anniversary every second year, now in its 76th year since this historic disaster took place, it still remains a significant day on our local calendar as we continue to remember those who lost their lives in such terrible circumstances more than seven decades ago,” Cr Hutton said.
“The official memorial was advocated in 2011 by Mr Millroy and Mr Fisher to be placed at the site, who were successful in securing more than $14,000 in Local, State and Federal Government funding.
“The memorial which is comprised of two plaques naming all passengers, historical photos and pieces of the aircraft was officially opened by the Queensland Governor, Penny Wensley in 2012.”
Mr Millroy said he was delighted that since the opening, memorial services have been held every two years to coincide with the Talisman Sabre military exercises.
“The story of the disaster was a very well-kept secret, with only a few chosen stories being passed around since I was a child,” Mr Millroy said.
“I think it’s important to have a marker at the site for relatives and family to visit and the local community to officially acknowledge, and the feedback from people has been amazing. It’s great that Council supports preserving the history of our region.”
Members of the public are invited to attend the Canal Creek Service which will include a wreath laying ceremony followed by an afternoon tea at The Caves Country Pub.
Included in the 31 people who lost their lives were 20 United States Armed Services personnel, eight Australian Defence personnel, an Australian war photographer, a YMCA representative and an adjutant of the Salvation Army.
WHERE: Canal Creek Memorial Site, Canal Creek Rd
WHEN: 21 July, 2019, 2pm start
Directions: Travel north on the Bruce Highway, turn into The Caves township, turn left onto Rossmoya Road (in front of The Caves Hotel), follow the bitumen road 25.7km to the intersection of Werribee Road and Canal Creek Road.
Turn left onto Canal Creek Road (gravel road) and follow 1.3km to the site. Please look for the signs.