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Brisbane's Last Surviving Air Raid Shelters

Home > Brisbane > Architecture | Places of Interest | Quirky
by Gillian Ching (subscribe)
I'm a freelance writer living in Brisbane who loves exploring quirky places with my dog. Join me in my quest to find, experience, and share fun things to do and interesting places to go.
Published November 1st 2017
Protecting Brisbane and Future
I have waited for a bus on the corner of Enoggera Rd (north of intersection with Banks St, at Newmarket hundreds of times. This concrete "bus shelter" has provided welcome protection from the heat and rain for students, pensioners and the community as they wait for their outgoing city bus.

The Newmarket air rade shelter


Little did I know that this bus shelter started life with a far greater protection in mind and is a heritage-listed former Airrade Shelter. Built in 1942, the structure was part of the Air Raid Precaution activities that were implemented for the defence of Brisbane during World War Two. It was one of over 200 shelters that popped up across suburbs and in the CBD.

Such defensive buildings were constructed from the fear of the destructive attacks of bombs, particularly by the Japanese after Australia witnessed the devastating attacks in Europe. The shelter was designed by Frank Gibson Costello and built by the Brisbane City Council as part of a public program to erect public shelters.

Take shelter from the sun and rain


One of the designs was known as the pillbox with single-cantilevered roof slab, or "bus" type shelter, These were designed so that the three brick blast walls could be removed after the war, leaving a concrete back wall and five brick piers at the front.

Entrances were at each end of the front wall. Of the 19 "bus" types listed only two survive, at Newmarket and Newstead. Today the concrete shelter at Newmarket is alive with colour and joined by a constant flow of traffic buzzing past. It sits outside Newmarket State School and opposite a McDonalds.

The air raid shelter is now a bus shelter


The other surviving air raid shelter in Newstead has a prime location in Teneriffe beside the Brisbane River in Commercial Road and also acts as a modern day bus shelter. With Navy bases stationed in Teneriffe during World War 2, this site was strategically important as the area was of potentially high risk should combat have reached Brisbane.

Only one of the colonnade" referred style of shelter in the Brisbane City Council list as "bus (stone) survives, at King Edward Park in Turbot Street, Brisbane City.

The shelter is shaded by a mature tree


These shelters are an unusual city landmark and an understated reminder of Australia's military history. So why not jump on a bus, take a glimpse into our past to see how this our city's history lives on today.
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Why? Remembering Brisbanes' Past
When: Anytime
Where: Enoggera Road, Newmarket
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Loved this article. Fascinating!
by May Cross (score: 2|820) 8 days ago
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