It’s taken more than half a century for a little-known but crucial American World War II base to be revealed in outback Queensland.

Story By Annabelle Brayley

As a young apprentice aircraft engineer learning his trade in a hangar at Archerfield Airport in Brisbane in the mid-1980s, Mark Robertson was enthralled by the tales he heard from the older men working around him. Many were sheet-metal workers who shared yarns about going out to the American Air Base in Charleville in 1942 to repair United States Air Force (USAF) bombers and fighter planes. Little did Mark know that he would one day set up his own aircraft-maintenance business in one of the huge hangars the Americans used as part of their ‘secret’ base.

Mark is now one of several enthusiastic locals engaged in unearthing remnant buildings and artefacts, some of the uses of which are still unknown half a century later. A tour of the site, which surrounds the town’s well-known Cosmos Centre, is becoming an important visitor drawcard.

This story excerpt is from Issue #107

Outback Magazine: June/July 2016