Peregian bush carer Ron Gooch inspects the old wartime causeway built by local troops.
Peregian bush carer Ron Gooch inspects the old wartime causeway built by local troops.

Peregian fire uncovers a secret from Noosa’s wartime past

AN INTRIGUING piece of local World War II history has been revealed by the destructive flames, which ripped through the Peregian Beach bush in September.

Peregian bush caring husband-and-wife team Ron and Rochelle Gooch during their scrub recovery inspections came across the remains of a stone causeway built by troops stationed locally.

This formed part of a track running parallel to today's David Low Way.

The Peregian Beach Community Association regular weeding team members have consulted with Coolum Beach historian Frances Windolf to reveal the story behind this little-known war relic.

Frances said although many people living between Peregian and Noosa know that during the war many army shells were fired towards the coast from the area of Sunrise Rd … and are still occasionally uncovered and detonated by authorities … few are aware of the existence of this road link.

"Many of these soldiers were Americans, who had access to earthmoving equipment, building a narrow dirt track between the swampy area in today's national park and the beach," Frances said.

"At the southern end of the track, near today's (Coolum-Peregian) roundabout, more detailed construction was needed, to form a causeway over areas where the swamp drained towards the ocean, and so the troops quarried square blocks from Mount Emu.

"Former Peregian real estate agent, Peter Sharpe, recalls that he walked over the causeway in 1956, and that the track was still clearly visible when Thiess Brothers started work on the David Low highway, but that the bridges on the causeway were damaged by two Bren gun carriers which crashed through the lightly-built bridges," Frances said.

"For years the track, and the remains of the causeway, have been hidden by the heavy scrub in the area, but the track is now easy to find," she said.

The Gooches said those interested in seeing the site for themselves need to be aware the area is national park and it is forbidden to remove items from the area.

They said there is also a need to respect the flora which is bravely struggling to grow back and needs to be treated carefully.