Allied Works Council (AWC) quarry
Royal Navy Borrow Pit
- Supply facility
- Brisbane City
45 Queens Road, Nudgee 4014
World War Two saw a number of military quarries open in the Nudgee District. In early 1942, the US Army quarried a site at left-hand corner of Tufnell and Northgate (now Earnshaw) Roads, in preparation for the site to develop into its Brisbane General Depot (Banyo). The earth was taken to Eagle Farm and used as landfill for the flood-prone airfield. This quarry closed in March 1942.
During 1943-44, another US Army quarry was dug off Nudgee Road on land that was part of J.S. Childs Vineyards (now Nudgee Golf Course).
In 1944, and again in 1945, a third quarry operated from Queens Road on land belonging to St Vincent’s Orphanage. The quarry was used by the Allied Works Council (AWC) in 1944 and, then, by the Royal Navy in 1945.
In 1944, the AWC of the Commonwealth Government leased a site that was a component of St. Vincent’s Orphanage at Nudgee. The Roman Catholic Church had established the orphanage in the 1860s. The Sisters of Mercy order that ran the home for boys and girls agreed to allow the AWC to excavate some of its fertile cropland for fill. The site chosen was near the corner of St Vincent’s Road and Queens Road.
Quarrying operations commenced on 25 February 1944. A new, protective fence was built surrounding the pit site and three loading ramps were constructive for the use of dump trucks. As the earth that was dug from the site, was transported to Eagle Farm to complete the east/west runway for the United States Army Air Force.
The Church had initially requested a lease payment of £5.4.2 per month. But the AWC finally agreed to pay £62.10.0 per annum. The lease was settled on 18 March 1944. The AWC completed the earth removal, using ten trucks, by November 1944 and the quarry was closed. The nuns were left with a hole in the ground and they estimated that they had lost 18 acres of good farm soil that was needed to grow crops for the orphanage. The Archbishop of Brisbane James Duhig protested to the AWC on the nun’s behalf but to no avail.
In 1945, the quarry re-opened. The British Pacific Fleet was formed on 22 November 1944 with Brisbane designated as an Advanced Fleet Base. The Royal Navy leased the quarry as a Borrow Pit. The quarry provide fill for use in the naval boom defences at Pinkenba and on Shirley’s Wharf and Berth ‘E’ at Hamilton. The Royal Navy had 119,000 cubic yards of soil removed from the Nudgee quarry.
During 1945-46, the Royal Australian Air Force wanted to buy the quarry. The Church requested £1191 but the RAAF offered £1000 and the sale fell through. The Commonwealth Government purchased the site from the Church on 14 August 1947. The Brisbane City Council bought the old quarry on 27 November 1963.
Banyo-Nudgee Heritage Trail
Jonathan Ford, "Location 7: NORTHGATE US NAVY STORES", Banyo - Nudgee Heritage Trail, (Brisbane: Bangee Festival Committee, 2000)