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Top 5 Tunnels in Brisbane

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by Barry J (subscribe)
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Published October 24th 2020
The best things in life are underground
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Molendinar's abandoned railway under Tunnel Hill (by QLD Government)


A labyrinth of tunnels snake through Brisbane's subterranean world. Explorer our hidden history on an underground adventure in these top tunnels:

Ernest Junction Railway Tunnel
In 1888, construction started on the South Coast railway, running from Beenleigh, through Molendinar, ending just over the NSW border in Tweed Heads. The line cut through Molendinar's bushland, with a curved tunnel spanning over 100 metres.

The last train chugged under "Tunnel Hill" in 1964, and the tunnel is one of the last visible remnants of the abandoned line. A mushroom farm sprouted in the dark, moist concrete portal, and large boulders now frame the entrance.

After decades of neglect, locals cleared decades of rubbish, weeds, and the worst of the graffiti. The unique atmosphere in the State Heritage-listed tunnel is popular with photographers, artists, and ghost hunters.

Ernest Junction Railway Tunnel passes under Ashmore Road, south of Zane Street. To enter the tunnel, follow the walking tracks through Activity Crescent Reserve to a small park and the eastern opening.

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Enter the old Ernest Junction Railway Tunnel (by QLD Government)


Chateau Nous, Ascot
The Art Deco mansion at 1 Rupert Place extends over 1500sqm in one of Brisbane's most exclusive areas.

Sold for $4.2 million in 2017, the 5-bedroom 2-storey masonry Ascot mansion was built in 1938. Tall hedges shield the property from nosy neighbours, as the residents indulge in the lush gardens and swimming pool, with wet bar, barbecue, and pizza oven for refreshments. Water features and a full-sized tennis court complete the outdoor space.

Behind the grand entrance, the home features large entertaining areas finished with marble and parquetry flooring.

The first owner, a dentist, included servants' quarters in the house designs, ensuring he could relax after drilling and filling countless teeth. Staff delivered food and drink via the electric dumb waiter, decades before UberEats.

The doctor was an early doomsday prepper, building a secret tunnel to his air-raid shelter. If the home is ever listed on Airbnb, book a stay to check out the tunnel entrance in the underground garage.

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A dentist's secret tunnel, buried under an Art Deco mansion (by Alma Clark Real Estate)


WWII Tunnels University of Queensland's WWII tunnels
After the bombing of Pearl Harbour in December 1941 and Darwin two months later, frightened locals scanned the sky for Japanese dive bombers and "Zero" fighter planes. During WWII we built bunkers, tunnels and bomb shelters throughout the city. The Japanese didn't attack Brisbane, but the maze of underground structures remains.

At UQ's St Lucia Campus, rumours still spread amongst first-year students about secret military tunnels snaking under classrooms. The decades-old rumours began after the US forces set up their largest Australian communications centre to coordinate Allied attacks.

It's true - the "great court" tunnels do exist, but they aren't secret portals to Area 51 or Clive Palmer's wine cellar. Under the Forgan Smith Building, cables wind through the network of conduits, providing electricity and telecommunications to the campus buildings.

Ask the property and facilities team about the conspiracy theories, but be careful - they might show you full, dirty truth: the drainage channels running beside the tunnels. Some things are best left buried.

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Batman's Brisbane tunnel (by Sotheby's International Realty)


128 Crosby Road, Ascot
Brisbane's comic book inspired-mansion overlooks the city atop Bartley's Hill in Ascot. Recently sold for over $8 million, the 1400sqm family estate extends across 3 luxurious levels.

The home's sharp, modern exterior is a 21st-century version of Batman's Gothic headquarters, Wayne Manor, with every amenity to entertain a superhero. Spend time in the gymnasium, Zen room, theatre, wine cellar, billiard room, swimming pool, or the large outdoor deck or indoor lounges and dining areas.

To maintain your secret superhero alter-ego, the home hides a secretive entrance.

When the Bat Signal shines in the night sky, dash for the elevator, changing into your superhero outfit as you descend to the underground garage. Choose your ride in the 10-car Batcave, and escape through the 50m secretive tunnel.

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Batman's Brisbane tunnel (by Sotheby's International Realty)


Gold Creek Dam, Brookfield
In 1928, a tunnel was cut through the eucalypt forest east of Gold Creek to supply Brisbane with fresh drinking water from our city's oldest reservoir.

The heritage-listed Enoggera Creek Reservoir was one of the largest dams built in Australia in the 1800s, and the Gold Creek pipeline connects it with Gold Creek Reservoir.

A few years before the workers dug the tunnel to connect the reservoirs, prospectors discovered gold and cut mines throughout the Brookfield countryside.

The Gold Creek Tunnel stretches 400 metres and the steel grated concrete entrance opens in a discreet hollow in the forest east of Gold Creek Dam.

What's been your favourite underground adventure in Brisbane? Please let us know with a comment.
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Why? To find what lies beneath
When: Anytime!
Where: Under Brisbane
Cost: Free!
Your Comment
Great article Barry. I thought it was going to be train tunnels!
by May Cross (score: 3|7380) 29 days ago
I had no idea these existed!
by Gillian Ching (score: 3|1694) 28 days ago
This is fascinating, Barry! What a unique idea for an article. I would never have thought of tunnels!!!
by Belladonna (score: 2|595) 28 days ago
Great theme for an article, Barry - well done!
by Elaine (score: 3|7761) 32 days ago
A very interesting post. Love hearing about our local history. ☺
by flyme (score: 0|8) 30 days ago
Very interesting and informative article Barry. I admire your tunnel vision.
by Neil Follett (score: 3|1097) 32 days ago
I grew up in Brisbane and never knew of these tunnels. Thank you for sharing.
by Annette Vandersluis (score: 2|830) 31 days ago
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