Inaugural military weekend coming to Herberton in July

06 July 2024
  • History & commemoration
  • Media release

On Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 July, the rural Queensland town will host its inaugural Herberton Military Weekend, Troops and Trains: Trekking Back to WWII, to commemorate the 82nd Anniversary of the Kokoda campaign.

Herberton RSL Sub Branch and the Atherton Herberton History Railway (AHHR) have joined forces with the community to create a family-friendly, jam-packed program of exciting events and commemorative activities held at the Herberton Hall and the Railway.  

Herberton RSL Treasurer and Project Officer Shaaron Linwood says the inaugural event will spotlight the crucial role the country towns of Herberton and Ravenshoe played in WWII. 


“We wanted to build an attraction for the community that honours and celebrates Herberton and Ravenshoe’s involvement in WWII,” Shaaron explained. 

“The area hosted thousands of Australian and American troops who were stationed here to train in the jungle warfare training camps before they headed off to New Guinea, Borneo, and Bougainville during the Pacific theatre of the war.” 

To kick off the festivities on Saturday, Herberton will transform into the wartime era with an authentic steam train from WWII arriving at the Herberton Station in the morning, followed by a parade through town. 

“We have quite a contingent of Air Force cadets, veterans and reservists who will get the chance to ride in on the stream train and be welcomed by locals – along with a school choir – cheering and waving them in,” Shaaron says. 

Herberton March

“After they arrive, the official parade will kick off and we’ll head to the Herberton Cenotaph for the commemorative ceremony. 

“Shopfronts will be decorated, and we’ve got 450 metres of flag pennants that will be hung around town; it’s going to be a really exciting atmosphere.” 

Featuring train attendees, representatives from RSL Far Northern District, local community groups, military reenactors and more, the parade will be full of community spirit. 

Other activities throughout the day will include military displays, children’s activities, an ANZAC biscuit making competition, classic cars and military Jeep displays, a 1940’s fashion themed afternoon tea and more.  

Celebrations will also continue into the evening with a traditional swing dance and supper. 

Herberton 1943

Image: Australian War Memorial | Herberton has a long connection with Defence. Here Tanks of C Squadron, 2/9th Australian Armoured Regiment, passing along the main street of Herberton.

“We’re going to hold a supper and dance in the Herberton Hall, just like they used to for the troops back in the day. There will be long tables that offer light refreshments for guests, live music, prizes, supper and a bar,” Shaaron says. 

Activities will continue over Sunday as well, with the inclusion of a Military Bus Tour that takes passengers on a tour of the WWII sites in Herberton and Ravenshoe surrounds. 

With a variety of free and ticketed events and activities, Troops and Trains: Trekking Back to WWII will capture all aspects of this unique period in the history of Herberton and its surrounds, and bring to life the memories, fun, fashion, music and dancing of the era. 

“The event is a way for people to come along with their families and honour the role that their forefathers played during this time; to celebrate them and be proud of their sacrifices.” 

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Herberton poster