CAIRNCROSS DRY DOCK
MORNINGSIDE, BRISBANE, QLD
"Wartime Memories of Bulimba"
as recalled by Dennis Burchill - April 2004
"Probably the largest project that took place on Bulimba or possibly Australia was the building of the Cairncross Dry Dock. In early 1943 we watched workmen digging test holes to establish the type of material that they had to remove. This was done with a workman at the bottom of the hole with a pick and shovel, and a team at the top with a bucket and windlass to recover the spoil. When the project received the go-ahead, workmen came from everywhere. On the corner of Thynne and Lytton Roads, the Civil Construction Corps had a large camp where George Pickers had his showroom. The C.C.C. were men who were rejected for the service's or were too old to enlist. They were conscripted into the workforce and were sent to construct defence projects anywhere in Australia. The work force required for the construction of the dry dock totalled nearly one thousand men. They built about twenty dormitory blocks in Coutts Street, Bulimba for the main work force. After the war these buildings became known as the Bulimba Hostel and provided cheap accommodation for low wage earners. The hostel has been replaced by the Clem Jones Centre and all the original buildings being demolished."
"The material required to build the dock was staggering. All concrete was mixed by hand-operated machines and at one stage there was a stock pile of gravel six foot high which stretched from Lytton Road, down Thynne Road to the river. The dock was finally commissioned in late 1944 and the first ship to enter the dock was the Australian heavy cruiser “Australia” which suffered severe damage from a Kamikaze attack in the Philippines. When she arrived in Brisbane the aircraft was still embedded between the funnels . The body of the Jap pilot was removed in the dry dock. The Cairncross Dry Dock was then and still is the largest graving dock in the southern hemisphere."
I'd like to thank Dennis Burchill for his assistance with this web page.
Can anyone help me with more information?
"Australia @ War" WWII Research Products
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 23 February 2010
This page last updated 16 January 2020