Media Release  
Date: 13 May 2016

Historic World War II Broken Bay link remembered

Saturday 14th official opening of the restored West Head Army Track in Ku-Ring-Gai National Park reminded Marine Rescue Broken Bay Unit Commander Keren Muir-McCarey of an historic link from World War II between Marine Rescue NSW and the Army.

In 1937, the Volunteer Coastal Patrol, predecessor of Marine Rescue NSW, had been established. In 1939 war was declared and the Coastal Patrol began its war service.

Its first task was to establish a security watch on the Hawkesbury rail bridge, a vital link to the north.

In November 1939 one hundred members of the Volunteer Coastal Patrol assembled at a training camp in Broken Bay for intensive exercises with the Australian Army in signals, aircraft recognition, boat handling and security patrol duty.

Unit Commander Muir-McCarey said, “The Volunteer Coastal Patrol continued their wartime duties in Broken Bay and worked with the army to help establish more accurate military maps of the coastline with particular attention to beach defences.”

“The patrol was active in these waters when the West Head Battery of two guns was established in January 1941. This location is where the Army Walk of today had its beginnings.”

“This is a great outdoor experience”, UC Muir-McCarey said. “and a marvelous opportunity to imagine the extremely tough job it was when the track had to be established. Congratulations are due to National Parks and Wildlife Service and the West Head Awareness Team.”

After the war, as the Australian economy recovered recreational boating slowly began to increase in popularity. Pittwater and Broken Bay became a boating paradise and as more people became boat owners, the Volunteer Coastal Patrol evolved into a vital boating support resource.

Today, as Marine Rescue NSW, the volunteer spirit continues to serve the NSW boating community with 45 bases in the state including four in Broken Bay and neighbouring waters  – Marine Rescue Broken Bay, Cottage Point, Hawkesbury and Central Coast.

Marine Rescue NSW provides boaters with radio communication, boating education and search and rescue services with a commitment to saving lives on the water.

To honour the War Time efforts of all concerned, Marine Rescue will position Broken Bay 30, Broken Bay 20, Cottage Point 30 and Hawkesbury 22 at the base of West Head at 1100hrs till 1245hrs whilst the inspection of the walk is in progress by the invited guests.


Attachments: Pages from PIX Magazine December 1939; Coastal Patrol Yearbook 1987.

Media Contact:     Keren Muir-McCarey - UC Marine Rescue Broken Bay  0414 505 550