Air Raid Shelter in City for 11,670: Council Plans - January 1942


The Courier Mail - 3 January 1942 - page 3 

See also:

Plans for the construction of 168 air raid shelters to provide protection for more than 11,670 persons in the city, South Brisbane, and Valley areas, were approved by the coordination committee of the City Council yesterday.

Many of the shelters will be so constructed that with slight remodelling they will be suitable, after the war, for use as colonnades, garages, public lavatories, garages, or public waiting sheds.

Apart from pill-box shelters, such as those now being erected in Elizabeth, Eagle, and Ann streets, the approved plans call for digging 15 zig-zag trenches in the Botanic Gardens, as protection for students attending the University and Central Technical College, and for covering the City Hall lane so that it can be used as a shelter.

The trenches in the Botanic Gardens will extend the full length of Alice Street, and will cater also for the floating population from Charlotte Street to Alice Street.

Sides and floors of the trenches will be concreted. Altogether the trenches will provide accommodation for 1000 persons.

The City Hall lane shelters, to accommodate the floating population of the City Hall and the city markets, will be of special design. They will be constructed of reinforced concrete, on columns with intermediate heavy baffle doors. Accommodation will be provided for 400 people.

Other Shelters

Location of other shelters, mostly of the pillbox type, will be:—

  • Queen Street. — Two shelters, to accommodate 70 people, on the low level near Nixon-Smith's wharf, adjacent to the retaining wall.
  • Adelaide Street. — One, from Queen Street to north-west corner to accommodate 70. Located to suit possible future storage shed.
  • Ann Street. — One at Macrossan Street at rear of Council-owned land behind hoarding. Accommodation 70. Future storage shed or garages after remodelling.
  • Roma Street. — Three, from Turbot Street to Ann Street. Accommodation 210. Later may be converted to bus waiting sheds by eliminating brickwork.
  • Roma Street. — Three, from markets to near entrance to railways goods yard. To accommodate 210, markets population.
  • Roma Street. — Three, from railways goods road to passenger road. To accommodate 210, markets population. Design to conform with railway station buildings.
  • North Quay. — Two, from William Street to Queen Street, at bus terminus extending over low level path. Accommodation 140. Ultimate use as bus waiting shed by eliminating part of brickwork.
  • North Quay. — Five, opposite Ann Street. Accommodation 350. Lessees' sheds to be removed to new location. Deck on wharf to be repaired where necessary. For George Street and Ann Street shopping area.
  • North Quay. — Ten, opposite Turbot Street and Herschel Street on high level between trees and kerb, leaving 3ft. wide asphalt path. To accommodate 700. George Street shopping area. Later may be used as colonnade and shelters.

Valley Area

  • School Street. — Seven, from Boundary Street to Warren Street. To accommodate 500 passengers from possible tram hold-up in Wickham Street, near Barry Parade. Located to suit later garages or storages.
  • Marshall Street. — Three, from Ann Street to Hall Street. To accommodate 210, floating population east of Ann Street. Probable later extension to vacant land east side of Hall Street.
  • Yeovil Street. — Three, from railway line to dead end. To accommodate 250. Valley area, near Brunswick Street, east side line.
  • Esther Street. — Four, railway line to dead end. Accommodation 280. Future storage or garages.
  • Alfred Street. — Two, from Brunswick Street to north-west corner, behind hoarding. Accommodation 140. Later conversion to public lavatory.
  • Warner Street. — Eight, to Ballow Street, from Ann Street to Wickham Street. To be located on vacant land or by removal of scrapped car businesses. Accommodation 560.
  • Bowen Bridge Road. — 10, between Gilchrist Avenue and railway line. Trench type, lined with hardwood or concrete covered. To accommodate 700, outpatients and visitors, General Hospital.

South Brisbane

  • Stanley and Main Streets. — Twelve, from Main Street to State school. To accommodate 840, Woolloongabba shopping centre.
  • Annerley Road. — Six, from Stanley Street. To accommodate 420, for shipping centre and hospital outpatients.
  • Stanley Street. — Three, from Stanley Wharf to end of Russell Street. To accommodate 210, South Brisbane shopping centre.
  • Stanley Street. — Four, from Melbourne Street to Peel Street. To accommodate 280, for South Brisbane shopping centre and Cremorne Theatre.
  • Glenelg Street. — Four, from Stanley Street to Grey Street. To accommodate 280, for South Brisbane shopping centre.


Residents in most Brisbane suburbs are making preparations against air raids.

Of 30 people telephoned by The Courier-Mail yesterday 25 had completed or were planning some type of shelter. Of the others three considered they were in areas not immediately dangerous, and two had natural shelter.

Suburban police say that people are "burrowing like rabbits." Few shelters have been built under houses — most of them are in a corner of the back yard. There has been some demand for official A.R.P. plans, which have been issued to all the police stations, but many people have, modelled their shelters according to the type of ground, with which they have to deal.

Types of shelters described vary from mere "holes in the ground" to well-equipped large structures, and alterations made to garages and rooms in suitable houses.

In suburbs where the surrounding district makes natural shelter available, or, as at Pinkenba, water-logged soil makes underground shelter impossible, there has been little digging.

Use Of Brick Walls

A brick wall facing the high frontage of a house at Herston has a 20ft. opening to provide car space. This has been roofed with earth and cement to accommodate the family, if necessary.

A drive-in space on a high level at Newmarket, walled with concrete and stone, and with sandbag protection, will shelter the occupants of several houses.

A useful type of shelter is that built of sandbags against brick walls. Ashgrove has three of these. They are capable of housing six people in comfort.

Many West End residents are making shelters on A.R.P. lines. Wilston and Toombul residents are at work on structures of varying types. In a garden in Glenny Street, Toowong, a timbered 6ft. family shelter, lined with corrugated iron, is protected with earth and sandbags. On similar lines a Wooloowin garden shelter is built up with hardwood posts and backed with earth.

A Bulimba riverside dweller has a refuge dug well into the earth and upheld with solid logs and a foot-deep layer of concrete. A Windsor man plans to spend his recreation leave working out the best type of shelter.

Several neighbours will share a shelter in Bowen Terrace, New Farm, which will hold 30 people. At Clayfield a shelter sunk into the high side of a tennis court is well covered, floored, and drained. Some Rainworth people are digging trenches; others have natural slopes that can be used for protection.

At Yeronga the back room of a reinforced concrete dwelling, built in a steel framework, can be adopted for a shelter.

In Danger Areas

These are representative statements from police officers throughout Brisbane:—

  • West End: A fine community shelter opposite the Lyric Theatre, which will accommodate a flatful of people.
  • Breakfast Creek: This is the No. 1 danger spot, and people are doing plenty about it.
  • Bulimba: Plenty of home-made shelters, as this is a danger area.
  • Clayfield: People are very keen, especially St. Margaret's School, which has a fine shelter constructed according to plans. The work is not elaborate, but it is good for the purpose.
  • East Brisbane: People seem complacent; They take the attitude that "the ground looks hard and the sun looks hot." Main activity is along Lytton Road towards Norman Creek.
  • Coorparoo: People are energetic, and they have all wanted official plans.
  • Hamilton: People digging in a big way. Many have architects on the job, and they have spent as much as £20.
  • Ashgrove: Nearly "cuckoo" with people asking for assistance.
  • Valley: People do not seem particularly concerned.
  • Moorooka: People doing pretty well. We have tried to induce them to keep to their own back yard, and not to make it a community effort.
  • Kelvin Grove: A few shelters, but not many.
  • Kangaroo Point: Plans were distributed several months ago, so things are well on the way to completion.
  • Indooroopilly: A considerable number under construction, particularly at Jay Park and on the top of Finney Hill.

The Sherwood Division A.R.P. will hold its monthly meeting in the Sherwood State School on Tuesday at 8 p.m.

Source: Trove - The Courier Mail - Saturday, 3 January 1942 - Page 3 

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published