Cairncross Naval Graving Dry Dock

Brisbane Graving Dock

Type
Naval/port facility
Region
Brisbane City

Thynne Road, Colmslie 4170

Until 1944 the 430-feet South Brisbane Graving Dock was the only one in Brisbane capable of carrying out repairs on navy and merchant vessels, though its size limited the number and type of vessels that could effect repairs there. As a consequence the Brisbane Graving Dock at Cairncross was commenced in August 1942 as an additional repair facility. It was completed within 22 months, a feat that necessitated construction 24-hours a day for six days a week.

History

Until 1944 the 430-feet South Brisbane Graving Dock was the only one in Brisbane capable of carrying out repairs on navy and merchant vessels, though its size limited the number and type of vessels that could effect repairs there. As a consequence the Brisbane Graving Dock at Cairncross was commenced in August 1942 as an additional repair facility. It was completed within 22 months, a feat that necessitated construction 24-hours a day for six days a week.

Citation:

The Queensland Department of Public Works oversaw the project to a design produced by engineering staff of the Stanley River Works Board. The Main Roads Commission undertook construction of the nearby wharf, the Department of Harbours and Marine organised dredging of the site and design of the caisson or gates. Construction of the dock was a priority project for the Allied Works Council, and it received its allocation of equipment and labour through the Civil Construction Corps. At the end of the war the Brisbane Graving Dock was one of the largest in the southern hemisphere, capable of receiving a vessel 800 feet long, with an 80 foot beam and a draught of 32 feet.

The construction project was labour-intensive and a large camp site known as Camp Apollo and capable of housing 1000 workers was established for the Civil Construction Corps by the corner of Thynne and Lytton Roads at Bulimba. Barracks for the CCC were built near Coutts St, and after the war were used for low-cost housing and known as the Bulimba Hostel. The dock was provided with an electrically-driven floating caisson built by Evans, Deakin and Co Ltd at Rocklea, and assembled on the dock floor. It also had two mobile and one stationery crane, with stores, blacksmith shop, boiler shop, shipwrights shop, and its own electrical substation. It also had a 200-seat cafeteria for dock staff, and a kitchen and facilities for ships crew when vessels were docked.

Water was allowed into the dock in March 1944, and Harbours & Marine vessels were the first docked in June 1944. For the remainder of the war and in the months after the cessation of hostilities, approximately 100 vessels including 16 Australian and 23 British naval ships including small aircraft carriers, merchant ships, tankers, destroyers, and submarine tenders, were serviced at the facility.

Source/comments

BCC Heritage Unit citation

Burchill, Dennis, Wartime Memories of Bulimba, April 2004.

Davenport, Winnifred. Harbours & Marine, Port & Harbour Development in Queensland from 1824 to 1985, Dept Harbours & Marine, Brisbane, 1986

Jones, David & Nunan, Peter, US Subs Down Under, 1942–1945, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland, 2005.