Air Raid Shelter (Townsville Railway Station)

Hanlon’s Hideouts

Civil defence facility

Flinders Street West, Townsville 4810

Known as 'Hanlon’s Hideout's, (after Civil Defence Minister Ned Hanlon) this type was not located in the suburbs as residents were expected to construct their own shelter or slit trench for protection against air attack.

The air raid shelter built at the Townsville Railway Station was constructed in front of the carpark beside the road.


Fifteen reinforced concrete civilian air raid shelters of this 'pill box' type were constructed in the CBD. They could accommodate fifty persons and were constructed by the Public Works Department.

The air raids on Townsville occurred over three nights between 25 and 29 July 1942 when Kawanishi flying boats attacked the city. A plan that involved up to seven Rabaul-based aircraft, each flying a return distance of some 3000 miles, would yield little more than propaganda for the Japanese. The actual damage Townsville received from these three raids was one dead rock wallaby at Many Peaks Range and a damaged coconut tree at Oonoonba.

A fortnight after the three Japanese air raids on Townsville, Berlin Radio falsely claimed that the Townsville Railway Station had been “completely destroyed".

In January 1943 the US Intelligence service in Townsville began an investigation into several stolen bags of official mail that were discovered in this shelter. The empty envelopes of two US Naval communications marked “Secret” and “Confidential” were discovered with contents missing.


Imperial Japanese Navy Combat Evaluation Sheets for 25 July, 27/28 July, 28 July, 28/29 July, 30/31 July 1942.

The North Queensland Line: The Defence of Townsville in 1942". Ray Holyoak unpublished Honours Thesis, James Cook University, Townsville 1998.

Air Raid Precaution Report in Townsville 1942, ACT A816/1, 49/301/217.

The Argus (Melbourne), Tuesday 11 August 1942.