War Relics: Administration Building for Armaments Factory in Adelaide
World War 2 brought a period of enormous change to South Australia. As Australia allied with the United Kingdom and the United States in a desperate fight for our lives, a great deal of money was spent around Australia to support the war effort. When war with Japan erupted in the Pacific the pace increased dramatically.
Defences around the country were substantially upgraded, while the industrial might of our factories swung into action and re-tooled for war production. Production lines at General Motors-Holdens, British Tube Mills, and the TJ Richards' factory later Le Cornu's Anzac Highway
switched to producing guns, tanks, and military aircraft parts. Islington Railway Workshops
churned out armoured cars, and enormous new munition factories were built. Many are now disused, long forgotten abandoned places.
World War 2 Armaments Factory Building in 1940 (State Library SA BRG-264-40-5)
You can still find war relics from World War 2 scattered about South Australia. From the Hummock Hill battery
that protected Whyalla shipyards to an abandoned cell block
used to house military prisoners in the ghost town of Terowie
, these military installations were built to last.
Abandoned Buildings and Ruins From World War 2
Demolishing Fort Malta in 1958 - But Some Ruins Remain Still (Image: N Grist)
Many factories in Adelaide
grew rapidly during World War 2 to accommodate increased wartime production, and women were finally allowed into the workforce while men were fighting overseas. Production of tubes for aircraft guns and warships' boilers began at British Tube Mills in Kilburn (later Tubemakers) within days of the outbreak of the war.
Entrance to Bomb Filling Section Salisbury Explosives Factory
A new fort in South Australia - Fort Malta
, was built in 1942 as the location of Fort Largs
was well known to the enemy. The Lefevre Peninsula was heavily fortified with anti aircraft guns, fixed gun emplacements and barbed wire along the beach to protect our coast and shipping. Fort Malta had 36 personnel and was protected by anti-aircraft and machine guns, and searchlight positions. Despite attempts to obliterate it, World War 2 relics of it continue to be found.
Abandoned Places: A World War 2 RAAF Radar Station in South Australia
Several top secret radar stations
were built for the RAAF in South Australia to provide early warning of air attack, and their abandoned buildings and ruins can still be found in South Australia. In Mount Gambier
the RAAF also built No. 2 Air Observers School which was home to over 1000 personnel during World War 2.
Wartime Tunnels and Underground Bunkers
An Underground Bunker Used for World War 2 Communications, Now a House
London was severely bombed in World War 2, and it was quickly realised that underground bunkers and tunnels
would be necessary in Adelaide. They were particularly necessary at military installations to protect emergency power supplies and store munitions. Other secret bunkers housed military wireless communications units at Gawler in air raid shelters - now disused World War 2 relics in South Australia.
Air Raid Shelter in World War 2, Now a Garden
Some World War 2 air raid shelters in South Australia have been creatively reused, and one is now a comfortable underground house that needs little temperature control. Another of the former air raid shelters has found a new use as a garden, with room for securely storing equipment and working underground.
Disused Underground Bunkers Used by RAAF for Munitions Storage
Other RAAF underground bunkers can be found north of Adelaide, war relics which once housed munitions and emergency power supplies for communications. People pass these disused military bunkers daily, completely oblivious to their dark past.
Explosives and Munitions Factories
Disused Munitions Factories, One of Many Abandoned Places From World War 2
Massive munitions factories were quickly built in the early days of the World War 2. The Finsbury munitions factory in the north west of Adelaide
and Salisbury explosives factory now have abandoned buildings, but the Small Arms Ammunition Factory no 3 at Hendon later became the Philips Electrical factory. Parts of the Hendon factory are now used creatively for film production.
Poster at Hendon Small Arms Ammunition Factory
The Dry Creek explosives magazines
were built long before World War 2, but found new uses in wartime. These state heritage listed buildings were abandoned after many years service, but are still an important reminder of times gone by.
World War 2 Railway Stations and Infrastructure
Plans for Finsbury Ammunition Factory (National Archives
South Australian railways were upgraded and extended to support the war effort. The Penfield 3 railway station and Hendon railway stations serviced the neighbouring munitions factories, while a spur line from Woodville brought workers to the Finsbury armaments factory.
A World War 2 Troop Train From Quorn Arrives in Alice Springs (SLV)
A huge US Army military camp
was established at Sandy Creek, and the Sandy Creek railway station was reputedly the longest in South Australia. No trace of the railway station remains today, but Quorn railway station in the Flinders Ranges
was also a key transit point for soldiers on troop trains in World War 2
Abandoned Railway Station That Once Serviced Salisbury Munitions Factory
The Salisbury Explosives Factory was so large (3,672 acres) that it needed trams and a light railway system
to maintain productivity. You can see the original battery powered electric vehicles at the Milang Railway Museum
. Read more about the Salisbury munitions tramways here