CHULLORA BUNKER AND TUNNELS
NEAR SYDNEY, NSW
WERE THEY USED DURING WW2?
An underground "bunker" and tunnel system is apparently located under the block of flats located in Davidson Street and Marlene Crescent, Greenacre (Chullora), in the area bounded by the Chullora Railway Workshops land, the Old Hume Highway and Centenary Drive. It is located just south of the Strathfield Golf Course and south east of Rookwood Cemetery (Gregory's Map No. 165, Grid Reference F10). Access to the "bunker" is by steel doors set in concrete into the hillside in a railway cutting which runs from alongside the the railway line parallel to Marlene Crescent (down at a platform called Railwelders) and which leads under the block of flats.
It is believed that the access doors to this "bunker" were welded up around the late 1980's. A network of storage facilities is also supposedly still there and extends under the railway workshop. One source speculated that there may have been a tunnel about 4 miles long connecting this complex with No 1 Fighter Sector Headquarters near the Marion Street Reserve at Bankstown. This was only a wild supposition on his part.
This underground complex is well known to many employees of the State Rail Authority of NSW. One source has seen inside the "bunker" that is located under the blocks of flats in, but he only had a view into the "bunker" from the door itself.
Railway security staff have done a good job of preventing people from sneaking in most of the time. Several workmates of my source did look around inside the "Bunker" and claimed that the "bunker" was much larger than they had time to explore. The contents of the "bunker" were pretty much in disarray they informed my source, however it appeared that the further in one went the better the condition. Apparently the areas they explored appeared to be some kind of old administration offices as there were desks etc still there. In the 1970's there was an active program by management at the railway workshops to discourage people from entering the "bunker" including threats of dismissal as anyone entering the "bunker" was "trespassing on Department of Defence" land. Around this time (probably 1977 or 1978) the steel access doors were fitted with locks (Railway SL type). Interestingly the airshafts for this "bunker" are still clearly seen from the Hume Highway, in fact some of them are within metres of the roadway.
A friend of a friend of my source said he explored the other bunker system located under the Locomotive Workshops in the early 80's - access was obtained from a steel door set in the side of the stormwater drain that runs under the workshop. He claimed he was most interested in the crated Harleys but also said there were planes, trucks, other vehicles, ordnance and ammunition down there. (Sounds rather fanciful - most likely another urban myth!). He was quite concerned that included was what was obviously high yield aerial bombs and that poking around them could activate them so he left well enough alone.
During World War 2, Chullora on the outskirts of Sydney, was selected as the site for a major wartime manufacturing plant. The site once occupied several hundred acres of land roughly bounded by Rookwood Cemetery, Brunker Road, the Hume Highway and Centenary Drive. This plant manufactured HE bombs and ordnance, aircraft. Tanks were assembled as were local jeeps - in the 70's. Rumour has it that the area had been the largest secret manufacturing plant in Australia. Post war it was handed over to the railways to use as workshop facilities for the new diesel engined locomotives and self propelled car sets. This worked in well with the railway needs at the time as Redfern (Eveleigh) was devoted to steam engines and Clyde freight wagons. On the railway take over there was no attempt made to clean up the remains of the old business, and as appears common, many people were not aware of some of the "design aspects" of the facility. Even in the 1980's this lack of appreciation for the designed purpose caused problems.
The HE storage bunker located under the Rolling Stock Store (one end of the workshop) was used as a storage cellar for slow moving rail parts. The blast doors and pit still exist and were in original condition a number of years ago. There was some major flooding problems in about 1981. When new guttering was fitted to the workshop in 1980, the plumbers thought the blast pit next to the HE storage bunker was a drain (there were a lot of weeds growing in it) so they dumped the entire watershed from the roof down it! Needless to say there were cases where the water level was right up to the trap door, which had to have it pumped dry a few times.
Air Raid bunkers located at the Locomotive Workshops Administration Offices - were used these for document storage until the mid 1980's when they were demolished.
I'd like to thank Daniel Hultgren, Allan Konemann and Bernie McClafferty for their assistance with this web page.
Can anyone help me with more information?
"Australia @ War" Research Products
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 11 September 2005
This page last updated 04 September 2018