COMMONWEALTH MARINE ENGINE WORKS
LOCATED AT EVANS ROAD, ROCKLEA, BRISBANE, QLD,
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WWII
In 1940, as part of wartime considerations, Col. Dan Evans of Evans Deakin Industries, and Admiral Percy McNeil, proposed the establishment of a program for the manufacture of steam engines and the building of ships in the Brisbane area. Evans Deakins Co. undertook to build parts for "River Class" cargo ships at Rocklea and then assemble and launch them at the Evans Deakins Shipyards at Kangaroo Point.
The Australian Shipbuilding Board, responsible for the building and repair of merchant ships, as well as for the supply of engines, boilers and equipment, established the Commonwealth Marine Engine Works, to build two marine engine annexes – one in Brisbane, and the other in Melbourne.
Doxford engine built in Melbourne,
typical of the size of engine built at Rocklea
In 1941, the Commonwealth Government resumed land on the corner of Compo Road (later changed to Evans Road) and Beaudesert Road in the Rocklea area of Brisbane from the Farm-Allen family, to construct the Commonwealth Marine Engine Works.
It was a wartime-built workshop of 5,600 square metres (60,000 sq. ft.) enclosed by barbed wire. Today the location is occupied by Alstom Australia at 35 Evans Road, Rocklea. Alstom manufacture high voltage Transformers and Switchgear at this site.
A high voltage transformer leaving the Rocklea works
Today's Bays 4, 5 and part of 6 were the original buildings built during WW2. Bays 7 and 8 were built for the manufacture of larger transformers in 1957/58. Bays 1, 2 and 3 plus the main office building were built in 1967.
One of the original bays built in 1941
In 1948, English Electric took over the building only from the Commonwealth Marine Engine Works. The 13.9 acres (5.63 hectares) of land was eventually transferred to English Electric in 1958. The timber building adjacent to the visitors car park was relocated from its earlier position which was closer to Beaudesert Road.
English Electric - December 1959
Note the timber building to the
left of the main
bays is in a different location to where it is today
The repositioned timber building
Various mergers and acquisitions saw the English Electric company change its identity over the years:-
English Electric - AEI
1969 GEC-AEI Engineering
1970 General Electric Company
1978 GEC Australia
1989 GEC Alstom
Today Alstom Australia
Commonwealth Marine Engine Works Port Melbourne
I'd like to thank Ian Johnson, Trevor Pieterse and Maxine Jones of Alstom Australia for their assistance with this home page.
Military Units in the Rocklea, Moorooka and Salisbury areas during WW2
Can anyone help me with more information?
"Australia @ War" Research Products
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 21 September 2001
This page last updated 29 January 2017