66 to 37 Mile Camps
From Adelaide River, troops left the track to deploy into the ‘Mile camps’. After the commencement of the bombing of Darwin most of the troops were withdrawn from the immediate vicinity of Darwin where they vulnerable to air attack. The coastline was too long to be defended and so troops were dispersed along the track at the Mile camps in readiness for deployment in counter attacks.
The ‘mile’ camps were occupied for an extended period of time and started as tent cities however some skilful, and often elaborate, bush carpentry lent them an air of semi-permanence. The concrete foundations of many of these structures, as well as the slit trenches and gun emplacements can still be seen today.
49 Mile Camp
This camp was home to 27th Australian Infantry Battalion and the “M” Anti Tank Battery, from May 1942 until April 1943, when they were replaced by the 28th Battalion. When the unit first arrived, they had to carve out a camp from the virgin bush. Over time a number of amenities were built to make life more comfortable. A stage was built and movies were shown on the screen, while shows and talks were given on the platform.
Manton Dam was commissioned by the Royal Australian Navy for re-supplying ships, because the water supply from Howard Springs was seasonal and unreliable. The dam was completed in 1942. During the war, it was fitted with two anti-torpedo boom nets and eventually an anti-aircraft unit. The RAN gave the dam to Darwin at the end of the war. For the first time Darwin had a reliable water supply during the dry season.
41 to 37 Mile Camps
This stretch of the Track was densely packed with troops. In May 1942 the Military abandoned the “aerodrome defence plan” and devised a “plan to meet any possible Japanese attacks on lines of approach leading into the Line of Communication from more Southerly directions”. Five infantry battalions and three artillery and anti-aircraft batteries were deployed in this vicinity.