South Brisbane Dry (Graving) Dock

Queensland Maritime Museum

Naval/port facility
Brisbane City

412 Stanley Street, South Brisbane 4101

Opened in 1881, the South Brisbane Dock was Brisbane’s only graving dock until 1944. It was a vital piece of infrastructure for the war effort and enabled the Allied naval and merchant fleets and other vessels used various government departments to affect repairs. The engines and boilers of the dock were covered with a bomb-proof shelter in case of enemy air attack.


As the only facility in Brisbane to be able to enable dry-dock repair, the South Brisbane Dry Dock held a position of particular importance during the early years of the war. The dock remained operational under the supervision of the Department of Harbours and Marine, servicing both naval and merchant vessels of the allied forces. It was the primary naval repair facility for the US Seventh Fleet, it’s submarine pack and support ships. A repair yard was constructed adjacent to the dock during the war later became part of the dock infrastructure.

Between June 1942 and June 1943, eighty-eight vessels were docked. These included 28 submarines, 12 RAN vessels, 15 USN vessels, and various merchant ships and government service vessels. Fifty-one submarines in total were repaired there during the war years. The construction of the Cairncross dry dock and its opening in June 1944 relieved some of the pressure on the South Brisbane facility.


David Jones and Peter Nunan, “US Subs Down Under, Brisbane 1942–1945", Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 2005
Roger Marks, Brisbane WW2 v Now, Volume 7 'Brisbane River - Upstream from Bretts', 2005
Winifred Davenport, “Harbours & Marine - Port & Harbour development in Queensland from 1824 to 1985", Department of Harbours & Marine, Brisbane, 1986.