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The Royal Australian Navy established two large welded steel plate fuel tanks (Nos. 1 & 2) and three large concrete oil tanks (Nos. 3, 4 & 5) at Edge Hill, at the base of Mt. Whitfield in Cairns in north Queensland during WW2. They were completed in 1944.

Tanks 1 and 2 are located on the northern side of the eastern end of Collins Avenue west of the Saltwater Creek Bridge and were used to store dieseline.

Crude type furnace oil was stored in Tanks Nos 3, 4 and 5 which are located on the north side of Collins Avenue. The Furnace oil was pumped through an underground pipeline to the refuelling jetty on Cairns Wharf in Trinity Inlet. The tanks were used for the same purpose until they were decommissioned in 1987. The tanks were camouflaged during WWII.


Plan:- National Archives of Australia

The first two of the five Naval Oil Tanks which were built adjacent to Collins Avenue in Edge Hill, Cairns


Plan:- National Archives of Australia

Plan showing the location of all 5 tanks


Tank Nos 3, 4 and 5 were decommissioned and turned into the magnificent Tanks Art Centre in 1995. Tank No. 3 was converted into a performance area whilst Tanks 4 and 5 were converted into an Art Gallery and event space. The small pumphouse building was converted into an administration office.



I'd like to thank Rob Williams of the Cairns Heritage Group for his assistance with this web page.

I'd also like to thank Kain Shepherd, Project Officer for the Tanks Arts Centre for his assistance with this web page.


Can anyone help me with more information?


"Australia @ War" Research Products

I need your help


 Peter Dunn 2015


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This page first produced 26 May 2007

This page last updated 08 September 2018