History being unearthed in Yarrabilba

THE region's World War II past is being unearthed in Yarrabilba this month as the University of Queensland (UQ) conducts its first archaeological field school in the area.

Undergraduate students from the university are taking part in a two week program on the outskirts of the Yarrabilba development - excavating the land and recording what they find.

Among them is Greenbank woman Sammy Lukan, who is in her third year of archaeology at UQ.

She is looking forward to seeing what the class discovers in the region.

"I've always been interested in history from an early age," she said.

"I'd love to be an archaeologist, this should be a great experience."

Senior UQ lecturer Dr Jon Prangnell said the Yarrabilba area was an ideal site for the university's first field school.

"We were looking for a field school site in south-east Queensland, somewhere that would be interesting... (and) where we could do work for an extended time," he said.

"Because this is a long term development, we have the opportunity to maybe come back for the next 10 years or so.

"It also has a really interesting World War II history, that's what we are looking for."

The American Army’s Camp Cable stretched across almost the entire Yarrabilba site from 1942 to 1946 and was designed to house men en route to the Pacific War.

The camp was also an important training ground for the army’s 32nd Infantry Division, the Red Arrows, which fought the Japanese in Papua New Guinea.

Dr Prangnell said while many of the military artefacts from that era had been found with metal detectors, discoveries could still be made.

"Hopefully we can find items that belonged to individuals that were here for that period of time," he said.

"It was a very short period of time, the US army was here for two years (and) the Australian Army was here for two years... but if we concentrate on where we can find building remains then maybe we can find items that belonged to individuals.

"We found a button yesterday (Wednesday), so we are targeting things like that... toothbrushes, even ceramics, some of the plates they ate off or cups they drank from."

Dr Prangnell said once found, such items could go to the Queensland Museum, become part of UQ's archaeology course or be added to Lend Lease's own historical collection.

The students are excavating on the site until Friday, July 17.

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