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Stories from Bowen, Top of the Whistundays

Thinking about visiting Bowen? Check out the stories about Bowen below, covering all you need to know about our region!

Pictures from the Past - Catalina Flying Boat Base

Visitors to Bowen can step back in time and discover the past by visiting the Catalina tribute erected on the original concrete hardstand base on Santa Barbara Pde. During the battle of the Coral Sea, construction of a slipway was commenced on the Bowen foreshore to maintain the Catalina Flying Boats and from 1942 this was the site of the various RAAF operational and maintenance units. Local buildings were commandeered to house the influx of servicemen & ground crews.



P/O Porteous was killed accidently during an air to sea gunnery training exercise flight that took place off Bowen on the 17 August 1943. The RAAF PBY-5 Catalina crashed into the sea and sank, with 6 crew & 8 medical personnel onboard losing their lives.

Incorporating architectural elements inspired from the majestic sweep of a Catalina flying boat wing, the tribute records the contribution to the war effort from these unique machines and commemorates the lives of those who worked on them.

Find out more:

Visit the Coral Sea Museum at the Bowen Aerodrome, featuring a diorama showing the Bowen foreshore during the war, complete with Catalinas, maintenance sheds and slipway.

Visit the Bowen Historical Museum to discover more of the region’s contribution during World War I & II including original artefacts.

Hike to the World War II radar site and take in the expansive views from the Cape Edgecumbe Trail – follow the signage 30M from the Horseshoe Bay Lookout stairs turnoff. This hike is steep and unformed and should only be undertaken by those with a high level of fitness.


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