Students step back in time

STEPPING back in time, the younger generation of locals has been given an insight into Coffs Harbour’s wartime history.

Students from Bishop Druitt College yesterday toured the city’s well-known World War II landmarks before hearing the stories of local veterans over lunch.

For a decade now, the war history walk and veterans’ luncheon have been traditions for Year 9 students at the school.

Teacher Mark Doran said it’s important younger generations know the local history and the wartime sacrifice made in their home town.

“The students tour all of the well-known war sites around Coffs Harbour, the Bunker Gallery, TS Vendetta, and Beacon Hill, which played an important role during the war of protecting the coastline from Japanese submarine attacks,” Mr Doran said.

“Students are always surprised to learn just how close the war came to Coffs Harbour particularly of the torpedo attacks on ships off the Solitary Islands and along the coastline between Port Macquarie and Tweed Heads.

Grafton historian Private Verdi Schwinghammer who served in ‘C’ Company, 42nd Battalion, AIF, said Japanese forces used the lighthouse on South Solitary Island to familiarise themselves with the coastline.

“During World War II, an enemy subcould have blown up the lighthouse and residences with one shell, but it was too valuable to them, to get their bearings and lay in wait,” Private Schwinghammer wrote.

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