Lying peacefully in Queensland’s Kroombit Tops National Park is the mournful answer to a 50-year-old mystery. On February 26, 1945, the USAAF B-24 Liberator Beautiful Betsy and her crew went missing. WWII was over and in high spirits eight young men volunteered to fly the retiring bomber from Darwin to Brisbane. The aging craft never made it. Several desperate and fruitless searches ended in frustration, until Parks and Wildlife ranger Mark Roe stumbled upon the wreck by accident half a century later. Now it’s a permanent memoriam that honours the lives of the soldiers and is a place of solace for veterans and visitors alike. The wreckage strewn over the top of the sandstone escarpment details the sheer magnitude of the crash in which six American and two British soldiers lost their lives.
“SOUNDS VERY WORTHWHILE. DEFINITELY A SOULFUL JOURNEY.” – Sandra Sully
There’s something eerie yet undeniably fascinating about being able to walk quietly past Betsy’s engine, fuselage, shorn wings and mighty propeller, still lying in the same ridge-top clearing she came to rest in more than 50 years earlier. Set against the peaceful surrounds – black cockatoos alighting in casuarinas, trickling creeks and flowing waterfalls, dense rainforest that’s home to the rare Kroombit tinkerfrog and the stunning views over Boyne Valley from the eastern escarpment – this is indeed a very special place for quiet reflection.
WHERE // 85km southwest of Gladstone, Qld, about a 1.5hr drive. 4WD is recommended.
DID YOU KNOW? // Flight Officer Roy Cannon of the ill-fated Betsy was due to marry a Brisbane girl only days later on March 2, 1945. His intended best man, Flight Lieutenant TJ Cook, was also on board.