MELBOURNE BOY'S HIGH SCHOOL
USED BY THE MILITARY
DURING WW2

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visits since 24 February 2002

 

The Royal Australian Navy used the Melbourne Boy's High School, in Melbourne, Victoria from 1942 to 1944. This included the Pay and Personal section, DOTM, and other such Navy departments. 

There have been stories that the Melbourne' Boy's High School was used by the US Army during WW2. This is not true. The Headquarters for the U.S. Army Forces in Australia, were initially located in the MacRobertson Girls High School and perhaps this is where the confused story has arisen.

There have been unsubstantiated reports of a tunnel from the Melbourne Boy's High School to nearby South Yarra Railway Station. It is rumoured that this tunnel was apparently used to store arms during WW2. It is also rumoured that it was still used for this purpose after the war by the school cadets. In mid 2004, some of the buildings between the school and the railway station were being excavated without any sign of a tunnel. It is believed that there was no such tunnel between the school and the railway station.

However there is a large steel door in the army cadet room which is welded shut. It is supposedly an entrance to an escape tunnel that was used during WW2. Apparently any student found to have entered this tunnel will be automatically expelled. The tunnel under the school is apparently still there, however as indicated it is now blocked. There have been unsubstantiated reports of a trap door in the Principle's office that leads to the tunnel. 

In December 2002 Michael Bukraba indicated that he had found some interesting looking brickwork that seems to have been recently repaired or replaced inside the Anzac Tunnel. He indicated that the Anzac Tunnel is littered with lots of graffiti. He said he could see an overhead chunk of brickwork that had begun to collapse.  It was located about 200 paces in along the Anzac Tunnel. He indicated that when he paced it out, this brickwork seemed to line up with an area under the school, possibly the School Library building but he was not sure. The Anzac Tunnel construction turns from brick to concrete about 250m along the tunnel.

Someone else told me the following in March 2003:-

I was there in the late 70’s and we explored any off limit areas (another story) in the school’s vicinity, inside and out … some tunnels originate from the old Q-store and armoury …. Many walls have been erected ..usually brick and concrete … these areas or vaulted rooms were used for storage of items stored over the past. …

Luke Savage, the School Archivist told me the following information in May 2003:-

The RAN did build two strongrooms under the hall to store files, which are now used as the Q Store and the Armoury. And lastly, there is no trapdoor in the Principal's office, though there are others (now covered) in the School that give access to the gap under the floor.

There is no tunnel under the School, except for those made post WWII, which are now blocked. "ANZAC" tunnel that you refer too is Hawksburn Creek, that used to flow through the oval. Around 1900 the tunnel was excavated and the creek diverted. You can see the tunnel as it runs through the Como Project on Chapel Street. 

Melbourne Boy's High School in November 2002

Some people in Melbourne have mistakenly believed that General Douglas Macarthur's Headquarters was at Melbourne Boy's High School. His Headquarters was actually located in the Trustees Executive & Agency Co. Ltd. Building at 401 - 403 Collins Street

Some locals will also tell you about a tunnel that lead from the school to the Yarra River, which General Douglas Macarthur supposedly would have used as an escape route. There is a large drainage tunnel called the Anzac Tunnel which runs into the Yarra River adjacent to Melbourne Boy's High School but there is no evidence that it was ever connected to the tunnels under the school. If you travel on the Frankston train from the city, you can see the Anzac tunnel (on the left of train) opening into the Yarra just before you go past the Melbourne Boy's High School.

Anzac drainage tunnel flowing into the Yarra in November 2002

 

Anzac drainage tunnel flowing into the Yarra with Melbourne
Boy's High School in the background in November 2002

 

Looking up into the Anzac drainage tunnel - there is no
evidence that it is connected to the tunnels under the school

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Tony Baldwin and Simon Whitaker for their assistance with this home page.

 

BOOK REFERENCES

"The Intrigue Master - Commander Long and Naval Intelligence in Australia, 1913-1945"
By Barbara Winter

 

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This page first produced 24 February 2002

This page last updated 21 August 2004