Military Operations on Fraser Island

Military Operations on Fraser Island

The Cadetshop team took an expedition to Fraser Island recently to check out a unique part of Australian Military History and explore the relics left behind from WWII. We also had the opportunity to field test some of our gear, but more on that later. 

Fraser Commando School - Z Special Unit


­The Z Special Unit was an elite Australian military unit during World War II, tasked with carrying out daring sabotage and reconnaissance missions behind enemy lines. It was formed in 1942 with the purpose of disrupting Japanese supply lines and gathering intelligence on their activities. The unit consisted of highly trained personnel who were experts in commando-style warfare tactics, guerrilla warfare techniques, close combat instruction and survival skills - all of which they had learned at the Fraser Commando School. Members of this special unit carried out numerous successful operations against the Japanese forces throughout WW2, including sabotaging fuel tanks and communication cables as well as capturing valuable information about enemy movements in occupied territories. They proved to be a formidable force that helped turn the tide of war in favour of Allied forces.


Established in the early 1940’s, the school provided specialized commando-style training for Australian troops and other allied forces. It also trained personnel in amphibious warfare tactics, guerrilla warfare techniques, close combat instruction and survival skills.


The instructors at the school were highly experienced veterans of both world wars who had served in various theatres around the globe. Over 909 soldiers passed through the facility over its four year lifespan, many of whom went on to achieve distinction with their service during WW2. These graduates were considered to be amongst the best soldiers in Australia, with many becoming decorated and highly respected members of their respective units.

The Fraser Commando School remains an important part of Australia's military history. What remains is a concrete relief map of the area shown here along with various other relics of machinery, slabs and posts where buildings once stood.  It is a testament to the dedication and skill of the instructors who served there, as well as the courage and bravery of the soldiers who trained there. Their legacy remains an important part of Australia's military heritage.

The Fraser Commando School closed its doors in 1946, but the legacy of the school lives on. Every year a small ceremony is held at the site to honour those who served there and to remember their courage and bravery. Furthermore, many modern-day Australian military schools and training regimens are still based on the teachings of the Fraser Commando School. The school continues to be a symbol of Australia's commitment to military preparedness, and its graduates remain an important part of our country's history.



By acknowledging the importance of the Fraser Commando School in Australia's history, we also pay tribute to those who died while serving at the school or in combat. We can remember their courage and dedication, and use it as an example for our own lives. Let us never forget that these brave soldiers served with extraordinary courage and commitment, so that future generations could continue to live in a free and safe society.


The Maheno Wreck 


The Maheno Wreck on Fraser Island has been used by the Australian Military for a variety of purposes. During the Second World War, the wreck was used as target practice for military aircraft. The aircraft would use it to hone their combat skills and improve accuracy in bombing raids. In addition to this, the wreck was also used as an obstacle for navigation and recognition training. The rusting hulk of the Maheno provides a challenging, yet realistic environment in which to train military personnel in their craft.



The Australian Air Force used the Maheno Wreck on Fraser Island as a realistic environment to train their pilots in combat skills. Pilots were able to practice precision bombing and navigation, as well as recognition training, using the wreck as a target. By honing their skills on this rusting hulk of a ship, they were better prepared for the battlefields of World War II. This unique use of the Maheno Wreck has served to ensure the safety and success of Australian Armed Forces in times of conflict.

Read more about this interesting slice of history here 

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