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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

WWII relics saved from invasive weeds

A fascinating reminder of Australia’s Second World War coastal defences has been saved from the spread of invasive weeds as a result of a Lake Macquarie City Council and NSW Government project.

The site clean-up and installation of signage at Wangi Wangi has helped preserve a gun emplacement complex and concrete command bunker.

The wartime relic sheds light on the little-known historic piece of Lake Macquarie.

Four 3.7-inch anti-aircraft guns, each capable of shooting down warplanes, once aimed skyward from the Wangi Wangi Point.

They protected the nearby Rathmines Catalina base from the threat of airborne attack.

The guns were withdrawn towards the end of WWII, but their circular concrete emplacements and associated structures still remain.

Council Natural Assets Officer, Brooke Laforest, said the area was slowly being swallowed by invasive plant species until a $50,000 NSW Government grant in 2019 paved the way for improvements to begin.

“The encroaching vegetation was damaging heritage brickwork around the emplacements,” she said.

“We have removed a lot of that, stripped out invasive weeds throughout the complex and planted native species around the site that won’t compromise the structural integrity of the old wartime structures.”

Lake Macquarie Mayor Kay Fraser said interpretive signs had also been installed, providing an insight into the area’s military history.

“These emplacements are now almost 80 years old, and they’re a stirring reminder of just how real the threat of war was, right on our doorstep,” she said.

“It’s great that we could help ensure they survive and are recognised by our community.”

Allie Martinelli

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