Today the Mayor of Murweh Shire Council, Cr Shaun “Zoro” Radnedge joined Queensland and Australian Government Members of Parliament, as well as local and regional dignitaries to officially open the WWII Secret Base in Charleville.
Cr Radnedge said the new complex was a great tourism attraction for the region, but it was also an acknowledgment of the importance Charleville played in Australia’s wartime history.
“Charleville played a significant role during the Second World War and our town hosted thousands of American servicemen between 1942 and 1946. We need to remember and celebrate the close military alliance between Australian and US forces,” the mayor said.
The mayor was joined at the historic gathering by the Honourable Stirling Hinchliffe, the Queensland Minister for Tourism, Innovation, and Sport, who also serves as the Minister Assisting the Premier on Olympics and Paralympics Sport and Engagement, and the Honourable David Littleproud, Federal Member for Maranoa.
Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the Palaszczuk Government’s Outback Tourism Infrastructure Fund investment in the WWII Secret Base highlighted an extraordinary time in Charleville’s history.
“This interactive visitor experience lifts the lid on an astonishing eight decade-long military secret, previously known only to those who had sworn oaths of silence,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“With the eyes of the world turning to Queensland on our runway to 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, we want to see Charleville’s WWII Secret Base on the radar of US visitors,” Mr Hinchliffe concluded.
Cr Radnedge said, “The exciting WWII Secret Base will take visitors on a captivating journey back in time and will shed light on the special and secret role that the United States of America and Charleville played during the war in the Pacific and the defence of Australia during WWII”. He also said that the funding from various sources, including the Queensland and Australian Governments, and Murweh Shire Council made the construction and the day-to-day operation of the WWII Secret Base possible”.
The Queensland State Government has committed $1.3m to building stage 1 of the project through the Outback Tourism Infrastructure program, along with a Murweh Shire Council financial contribution of $469,476 – plus many hours in-kind contributions from Council and other advisory organisations. The Australian Government has committed $1m to stage 2 of the project through their Building Better Regions Fund program, and together these co-contributions have added to the richness of this historical and memorable interpretive museum and tourism and asset.
“It is great to have the support of state and federal governments for projects like this,” Mayor Radnedge said. “They are vital to help our history be preserved and, at the same time provide an interesting educational experience for our residents, the youth and the many tourists visiting our wonderful community,” added the mayor.
The WWII Base will preserve and showcase untold stories, covert operations and clandestine efforts of individuals and groups who played pivotal roles during this time in history. The museum does a deep dive into the lives of those who worked behind the scenes to shape the course and ultimately, the outcome of the Second World War.
Mayor Radnedge said “visitors can explore the interactive exhibits that showcase the history in a unique way”.
“The WWII Secret Base is a great experience and I urge everyone to call in and have a look. I am so very proud to see this building formally opened here today,” he concluded.