Locals take advantage of barracks open day

Dan Hayes and son Asher
Dan Hayes and son Asher

There was a steady stream of visitors to the Kokoda Barracks open day to mark the 81st anniversary of its establishment in 1942.

The open day was organised especially for the people of Canungra to give them a behind the scenes glimpse of the facility which is normally closed to the public. Kokoda Barracks’ original role was to prepare Australian soldiers to fight in the Pacific theatre of World War Two and since then it has trained many thousands of soldiers to deploy to Vietnam, Timor and other conflicts.

“Today, as an Australian Defence Force base, it continues professional training for more than 5,000 trainees each year,” said Senior ADF Officer Kokoda Barracks, Lieutenant Colonel Wendy Say.

Canungra Law

“At any given time, there are around 500 to 600 Defence personnel on site.” Lieutenant Colonel Say said the Army was most appreciative of the close and supportive relationship it had with the Canungra community.

“They are wonderful neighbours,” she said.

Canungra township, just 1.2 km away, plays an important role both commercially and through the many civilian employees on the base, yet due to security restrictions its local community rarely gets the opportunity to seethe base at first hand.

As well as gaining an appreciation of the significant scale of its infrastructure on the open day, they were treated to a static display of current Army equipment, with the Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle being of particular interest, no doubt due to the great interest it has created through its successful deployment by the Ukrainian Army.

The day was a special hit with the kids who enjoyed the up-close inspection of Defence vehicles and weapons as much as the food stalls and jumping castle.