EAST SALE OPERATIONS
AND REMOTE RECEIVING STATION
EAST SALE, VIC
An Operations Building, Transmitting Building and Remote Receiving Station were constructed at East Sale for the RAAF during WW2.
Back in the late1970's, there was still a bunker just near the front gates on the left hand side as you entered the RAAF base. This was the Operations Room which was located outside the front gate at East Sale to minimise the possibility of destruction from enemy bombing. It was originally had a large grassy mound covering the building for camouflage. It had a large heavy metal door. There were other concrete emplacements around the base.
Photo:- Rick Hanning
Operations Building near the main gate at East Sale which was originally covered by a grassy mound
The following is a part reproduction of some military documents covering semi-underground buildings in Australia during World War 2.
Original on 171 56/1
this copy for 171/1/1493
UTILIZATION OF SEMI-UNDERGROUND BUILDINGS
Herewith is list of above buildings as requested in your minute dated 29th November, 1943.
|EAST SALE, VIC.
Remote Receiving Station
Photo:- Ian Jenkins
End of the Operations Building closest to Raglan Street, Sale
Frank Basile, radio mechanic, worked in this bunker from April 1968 to August 1970. It was the base switchboard manned 24/7 by WRAAF personnel who had living and cooking facilities for the night duty roster. The entrance was the side door at the Raglan street end. The other side door was the entrance to the Base Squadron radio workshops.
Frank remembers there was a long corridor along the East face where the entrance doors are located. One end of the corridor was a door to the switchboard area. The other far end of the corridor was the 'generator room", This held two emergency generators powered by Ford side valve V8 engines, that were regularly ran for maintenance.
On the side of the corridor working back from the generator room was the toilets then the Recreation room where they had "smoko" and played darts - then the workshop -then the office area for the Warrant officer and Sergeant, then a small spare parts store. They were based there although they manned the control tower radio room and the remote transmitter site way over the eastern end of the base beyond the airfield. The workshop was where they did overhauls of removeable equipment from the remote sites.
Access to the bunker or "igloo" as Frank and his offsiders called it, was via a road along past the Officers Mess then across a cattle grid along behind the farmhouse. This road ended like a court where they would set up a volleyball net. Vehicle parking was on a gravel/stone area. In other words the farm and bunker were within the base boundary. Many a time they would face a cow when exiting the building.
Frank told me that today it appears that the farm has a separate entrance via Raglan street just outside the base main gate. The bunker now appears to be in "no mans land" and not within the secure base perimeter. The access road is now broken up and overgrown and grass has now taken over what was the clear parking area that ran the length of the building .
This bunker was in service when Frank was posted out in late 1970. Frank feels that the bunker is now neglected and it's history seemingly forgotten. Frank believes it deserves some form of information plaque. Perhaps there are some historically minded people who live in the area who could make something happen.
I'd like this thank Frank Basile, James Montgomery, Ian Jenkins and Rick Hanning for their assistance with this home page.
Can anyone help me with more information?
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 13 May 2003
This page last updated 18 April 2016