the_rockThe Rock

by Ian Duggan.

ISBN 978-0-85905-951-0, (New, 2022), A4, illustrated, 43 pages, 150 grams, $30.00*

This book is dedicated to the men who served and constructed a base in Western Australia's Kimberley. They being members of the American Army Airways Communication System, the US Coast Guard and the RAAF Radar and Communications networks involved in manning Loran bases. These men, who behind the front lines in World War two carried out important strategic functions to help those in the front line achieve their destinations, return safely and to alert Australian forces of any enemy attack. They diligently manned isolated, inhospitable bases and in most cases never knowing the benefit they provided to front line forces during World War Two.

The base referred to in this book, was at Champagny Island, known colloquially by the Americans that manned it as The Rock. It was just that: A bare rock, no trees, no water and totally isolated, but the Loran base was such an important part of what was known as the Banda Sea Chain, which provided extremely accurate navigation aids to Allied shipping and aircraft in the latter stages of World War Two.

The importance of maintaining secrecy at these bases, to some extent, prevented broad community recognition of their duties. This book will make readers aware of the functions carried out by American and Australian servicemen at the Loran stations particularly those that served at The Rock.

However, The Rock did have some redemption, the Loran building was later transported to Fitzroy Crossing where it is now a church and as far as culture is concerned, it provided the impetus for one of the world's greatest modernist sculptors and artist, Dimitri Hadzi obtaining his early inspiration whilst serving as a technician with the United States Army Airways Communication System at The Rock.