|After re-discovery of
the World War I instructional trench system in 2014 and its
excavation in 2015, the Woodlands & Wetlands Trust and ACT Parks
& Conservation Service began organised public trench tours.
Since that time, hundreds of visitors have been guided through the
trench system site, with commentary about how the system came to be
constructed, why it is built the way it is, how it was used for
training, and the nature of trench warfare and bombing.
The tours often start with a quick background session at the
Jerrabomberra Wetlands office (also a chance for a drink of water and a
confort stop), followed by a walk or shuttle to the
trench system site.
On site, the initial stages of the Trench Trail and its
signs are used to illustrate the story.
In recent times, the 'mock trench' has allowed visitors to gain a sense
of the deep, narrow and sinuous form of a fire
The fire step allows taller visitors to understand they
would be disadvantaged in a real trench, while using periscopes allows
everyone to scan the field beyond the trench without appearing above
Other props allow visitors to feel the weight of the kind of bombs
(grenades) used in
training, and in the real thing, and to appreciate the skills and
dangers involved in
Visitors are then guided along the line of a communication trench, with
an explanation of the function and form of each layer in the sequence
of trenches that makes up the system, and how each layer came into play
during an attack.
At 'no man's land' the complex and dangerous system of saps and tunnels
for listening, bombing, or laying explosives, is explained, along with
the nature of barbed wire emplacements.
At the 'enemy trench' we can look back along the system to our starting
point and appreciate the effort that went into preparing officers for
We are reminded also of the human face and human cost of the War, and
can pause to remember the soldiers who did not come home.
Trench Tour during the Heritage Festival 2017
(Images: Michael Maconachie)
|On-site Trench Tours can
be booked when they are offered as part of the Canberra
and Region Heritage
Festival (around April each year). Alternatively, tours for
organised groups can be booked at other times by arrangement with the Woodlands
& Wetlands Trust. Proceeds from tours support the
important work of the Trust.
The entry to the Trench Trail is about 600 metres walk from the reserve
car park off Dairy Flat Road.
The trail is in a nature reserve - no dogs are allowed.
The 350 metre loop trail is marked, and easy access is provided to the
interpretive signs next to the
However, most of its length currently has no formed pathway, requiring
Please take care on uneven or muddy ground and near the river
Caution is required to avoid encounters with snakes.
Please take a hat, sunscreen and personal water supply.
There are no toilet facilities on the trench site.
about this book - Available
Let a Tour be just the start - or do your 'homework' before a Tour -
explore the full background to the Trench Trail and the 'Bombing
‘The best system of trenches in
Australia’: World War I training site, Duntroon Trench Warfare and Bombing
Jerrabomberra Wetlands Nature Reserve, Canberra
978-0-9945748-0-0 - Published
2017 by Learnscapes and the Woodlands and Wetlands Trust,
proceeds from the sale of this
publication benefit the work of the Woodlands and