ROCKLEA AMMUNITION FACTORY
COMPO ROAD, ROCKLEA

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The Rocklea Ammunition factory covering an area of more than 80 acres was located at Compo Road (now called Evans Road), Rocklea. The site was chosen by the Director-General of Munitions, Mr. Essington Lewis when he flew over the site on 22 January 1941.

An article in the Courier Mail dated 3 December 1941 sated:- "Bullets for small arms ammunition already are being produced at Rocklea Munition Works, although only a few months have passed since the first sods were turned on the factory site."

The Queensland Governor, Sir Leslie Wilson, visited the Rocklea Munitions Works on 2 December 1941 and watched 40 girls operating the complex machinery there. These girls had been specially trained in Melbourne. The Governor watched machines punch out bullet envelopes from raw metal, fill each with a plastic cone and lead core, and place a groove on the finished bullet. Machinery to make cartridge cases was being placed in position and was soon to be be producing completed rounds of ammunition. There were two Japanese lathes in another part of the ammunition section waiting to be used in the near future. They had been purchased from Japan before the war in the Pacific had broken out. At that time, the factory was expected to be up to full production within 6 months employing between 5,000 and 6,000 personnel.

A large Hostel was built at Moorooka to house many of the personnel who worked at the Rocklea Munitions Factory. It was not really used for that purpose due to the closure of the Ammunition Factory and was used as Barracks for the British Royal Navy.

Five workers from the Rocklea Munitions Factory were killed and 33 others were seriously injured when a US Army truck hit a Brisbane City Council Tram full of Munitions workers on Beaudesert Road on 6 September 1943.

 


Photo:- BCC Aerial Photo 1946

Site of theformer Rocklea Ammunition Factory on Compo Road

 

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Rocklea Munitions Factory on Compo Road (now called Evans Road)
You can just see the slopes of Tooheys Hill in the background

 

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Rocklea Munitions Factory

 

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Photo of Ammunition Factory building taken 6 May 2001
on corner of Chrome St. and Commerce St. at Salisbury

 

There is a small Air Raid type concrete bunker between the above building and the small RSL Memorial Park which is located between Commerce Street and Industries Road.

The students of the nearby Moorooka State School could see the camouflaged roofs of the large Rocklea Munitions Factory from their school windows. They were camouflaged to look like roads and tennis courts.

When the Ammunition Factory shut down in about 1944, Building Nos 25, 26, 27, 29 and 54 were taken over by the 11th Australian Base Workshop on about 6 November 1944 for a Tank Workshop.

Other parts of the former Ammunition Factory were used by the USAAF to recondition aircraft engines and another area was taken over by the British Royal Navy to similarly recondition aircraft engines. All of these engines were tested at the nearby Salisbury Engine Testing area which was located near today's Salisbury Hotel on Orange Grove Road.

It is believed that munitions and plant from the Rocklea Munitions Factory were relocated to the Munitions Depot at Stafford when the Rocklea Munitions Factory was converted to aircraft engine overhaul activities in about 1944.

 

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This page first produced 6 August 2000

This page last updated 08 April 2015