For many years what is now know as the Stuart Highway was little more than a track beside the Overland Telegraph Line. Known only as the North – South road, it followed in the footsteps of explorer John McDouall Stuart who successfully crossed the continent from south to north in 1862
This all changed dramatically with the advent of World War Two.
Darwin was isolated from the south and relied on sea lanes to maintain supplies. The threat of those sea lanes being cut by the enemy’s ships and submarines meant an overland supply route was going to be vital to Australia’s defence strategy.
In a remarkable feat of engineering and sheer determination, the rough dirt track was turned into a highway in the space of a few months.
By September 1940 the first military convoys were taking men and supplies through to Darwin. Further work carried out by both military and civilian work forces from each state, to strengthen and seal the road, was completed in October 1943, and the track became a road.
The track was the scene of an extraordinary amount of activity during the war.
All kinds of supplies critical to the war effort were carried up the track, the injured were brought back down to field hospitals, and aircraft took off and landed from dozens of trackside airstrips to intercept enemy planes and to launch attacks against the Japanese advance and occupation to the north.
The “Back To The Track 2020” military vehicle convoy re-enactment event to be held in Alice Springs in July 2021 and travel to Darwin in August 2021, and will offer participants, residents and visitors to the Northern Territory, a unique opportunity to experience the tangible reminders of the front-line “Battle for Australia”
Over 160 privately owned and restored vintage WW2 military vehicles will depart Alice Springs on Sunday 1st August 2021 and drive the 1600 klm to fortress Darwin, commemorating the 400,000 Australians who worked and travelled on the North-South road during World War Two.
The convoy arriving in Darwin to participate in the 75th year commemorations for the end of WW2 / Victory in the Pacific on Saturday 15th August 2021
The event, promising to become the largest historic re-enactment ever seen on the Australian continent
Douglas Draeger 0428676741
PO Box 8607