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visionross

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Reply with quote  #1 
ROSS-WWIIExhibition-Title-9Apr2018.jpg 
Mysterious Site in Ross
RAAF No.30 Inland Aircraft Fuel Depot
photo survey by Kim Peart

On the southern boundary of Ross a unique World War II site can be found, featuring a bunker, four large fuel tanks buried in the ground, and a water reservoir, all built in 1942. Should Tasmania have been invaded by Japan, the Ross Fuel Depot would have served to support any fight to defend the island, with two airstrips nearby, ongoing military activity at Mona Vale, a military hospital near Campbell Town, and military camps at Conara. Located next to the rail line, fuel brought in by train could be pumped to the tanks, which are said to have been for aviation fuel, kerosene, petrol and diesel. Later, two of the tanks were used to dump offal from the local farms, as part of the campaign to control hydatid. Two of the tanks remain empty, a great chasm in the ground. This site is privately owned, but if we can, should we wonder what its future could be.

ROSS-F&AD2-AerialView-11Mar2018.jpg


ROSS-WWIIExhibitionPoster-9Apr2018.jpg 

ROSS-WWII&tCM-AAAPoster-11Mar2018.jpg 

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visionross

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Reply with quote  #2 
ROSS-F&AD3-LandDistricChart-11Mar2018.jpg 
The Land District Chart shows when the land for the depot was acquired by the Commonwealth in 1942, and then sold five years later.

The only known photo of the depot, to date, is this 1947 aerial photo, where a building can be seen in the centre that is no longer there. It is said that this building had metal walls and roof, so it would not burn easily in case of any fires on the site. It is also said that no fuel was ever stored on the site, a detail which, I hope, we can verify.

ROSS-F&AD4-AerialPhoto1947-11Mar2018.jpg 
A recent aerial photo below shows a similar scene to 1947. The main change could have been underground, as it is said that the old Ross Council dug up the metal pipes for use around Ross.

ROSS-F&AD5-AerialPhoto2017-11Mar2018.jpg

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visionross

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Reply with quote  #3 
ROSS-F&AD6-ViewToRoss-11Mar2018.jpg 
The spire of the Uniting Church can be seen from the depot site, along Tooms Lake Road.

WARNING: This site is private land, and should only be entered with the permission of the owner.

ROSS-F&AD7-SiteView1-11Mar2018.jpg 
When first seeing this site in 2014, I was quite puzzled and wondered if I was seeing evidence of a nuclear fallout shelter in Tasmania.

ROSS-F&AD8-SiteView2-11Mar2018.jpg 

ROSS-F&AD9-SiteView3-11Mar2018.jpg

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visionross

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Reply with quote  #4 
ROSS-F&AD10-Bunker1-11Mar2018.jpg 
The lid to the ammunition bunker appears to have been lifted off with a crane, when in use.

ROSS-F&AD11-Bunker2-11Mar2018.jpg 
It would appear that a crane may have been used to lift stores in and out of the bunker.

ROSS-F&AD12-Bunker3-11Mar2018.jpg 

ROSS-F&AD13-Bunker4-11Mar2018.jpg 

ROSS-F&AD14-Bunker5-11Mar2018.jpg 

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visionross

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Reply with quote  #5 
ROSS-F&AD15-EngineRoom1-11Mar2018.jpg 
The engine room, which would have held the engines to power the pumps that pumped the fuel, is a concrete structure only partly buried in the ground, and unlike the ammunition bunker, has no earth covering the roof. This may have been to help with ventilation and cooling.

ROSS-F&AD16-EngineRoom2-11Mar2018.jpg 

ROSS-F&AD17-EngineRoom3-11Mar2018.jpg 

ROSS-F&AD18-EngineRoom4-11Mar2018.jpg 

ROSS-F&AD19-EngineRoom5-11Mar2018.jpg 

ROSS-F&AD20-EngineRoom6-11Mar2018.jpg

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visionross

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Reply with quote  #6 
ROSS-F&AD21-Tank1-11Mar2018.jpg 
Buried in the side of the hill and under earth, are four large fuel tanks. The metal lids offer access by ladder into the tanks. The metal lids can be easily opened, as they are balanced with a counterweight, and will remain open unless secured shut. It is said that the lids could be easily opened if the enemy approached, and the fuel released below to drain from the tanks. 

WARNING: Anyone venturing into these tanks should do so with breathing assistance, and a harness being held by friends above, in case of bad air.

ROSS-F&AD22-Tank2-11Mar2018.jpg 

ROSS-F&AD23-Tank3-11Mar2018.jpg 
BELOW: Access into one of the large tanks.

ROSS-F&AD24-Tank4-11Mar2018.jpg 

ROSS-F&AD25-Tank5-11Mar2018.jpg 

ROSS-F&AD26-Tank6-11Mar2018.jpg 
BELOW: At the base of each tank there is a tunnel, which provides access to the base of the tank, where fuel would have been pumped into the tank. When taking this photograph, a large snake was disturbed and silently slithered into a crevice in the rocks.

ROSS-F&AD27-Tank7-11Mar2018.jpg

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visionross

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Reply with quote  #7 
ROSS-F&AD28-Hydatids1-11Mar2018.jpg 
On an old town chart of Ross, an area has been marked out in Wellington Street for hydatid testing. The depot came to serve a role in the control of hydatid, with two of the tanks being used for dumping offal. The lids on those two tanks have been secured shut.

ROSS-F&AD29-Hydatids2-11Mar2018.jpg 

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visionross

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Reply with quote  #8 
ROSS-F&AD30-Reservior1-11Mar2018.jpg 
Water for the reservoir was pumped from the Macquarie River, and would have been available to fight any fires at the depot. The reservoir is located higher on the hillside than all other facilities, which would ensure pressure with water use.

At some point in time the use of the reservoir fell over from water to rubbish, which is set alight from time to time, and seen across Ross as a giant column of smoke. That may be why the depot is commonly referred to as "The dump."

ROSS-F&AD31-Resewrvior2-11Mar2018.jpg 

ROSS-F&AD32-Reservior3-11Mar2018.jpg 

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visionross

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Reply with quote  #9 
ROSS-F&AD33-Lookout1-11Mar2018.jpg 
The Ross fuel and ammunition depot is strategically located by a railway line, and below a large hill, with the tanks buried in the side of the hill and covered with stone and dirt. The covering of earth would have provided some protection in the event of an air raid. We can also wonder if the hill was selected to provide a lookout at the top, to spot any approaching enemy aircraft. An inspection around the top of the hill came up empty handed, with no sign of any built structure. If there had been a lookout, this may have been a simple structure that left no trace of its location. An L-shaped row of stones did not appear to be any form of building, and may have been the work of children from Ross in years gone by.

ROSS-F&AD34-Lookout2-11Mar2018.jpg

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visionross

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Reply with quote  #10 
ROSS-F&AD35-Grounds1-11Mar2018.jpg 
This appears to be a shower block. 

ROSS-F&AD36-Grounds2-11Mar2018.jpg 

ROSS-F&AD37-Grounds3-11Mar2018.jpg 

ROSS-F&AD38-Grounds4-11Mar2018.jpg 

ROSS-F&AD39-Grounds5-11Mar2018.jpg 

ROSS-F&AD40-Grounds6-11Mar2018.jpg 
Where once a building stood.

ROSS-F&AD41-Grounds7-11Mar2018.jpg 

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visionross

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Reply with quote  #11 
ROSS-F&AD42-Addons1-11Mar2018.jpg 

ROSS-F&AD43-Addons2-11Mar2018.jpg
This structure could have been a later addition to the site by a farmer.

ROSS-F&AD44-Addons3-11Mar2018.jpg 
BELOW: This appears to be building rubble, unrelated to the depot.

ROSS-F&AD45-Addons4-11Mar2018.jpg   

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visionross

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Reply with quote  #12 
ROSS-F&AD46-Rail1-11Mar2018.jpg 
Across Tooms Lake Road, to the west, is the railway line, and evidence of where a spur of the railway serviced the depot.

ROSS-FuelDepot&Rail-1Apr2018.jpg 

ROSS-F&AD53-Rail8-11Mar2018.jpg 

ROSS-F&AD54-Rail9-11Mar2018.jpg 

ROSS-F&AD47-Rail2-11Mar2018.jpg 
Three locations can be seen where fuel would have been pumped from a train tanker, under Tooms Lake Road, and to the depot tanks.

ROSS-F&AD48-Rail3-11Mar2018.jpg 

ROSS-F&AD49-Rail4-11Mar2018.jpg 

ROSS-F&AD50-Rail5-11Mar2018.jpg 

ROSS-F&AD51-Rail6-11Mar2018.jpg 

ROSS-F&AD52-Rail7-11Mar2018.jpg

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visionross

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Reply with quote  #13 
ROSS-F&AD55-Ruin1-11Mar2018.jpg 
North of the railway spur are the remains of where a building once stood. Such sites are potential archaeological digs.

ROSS-F&AD56-Ruin2-11Mar2018.jpg 

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visionross

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Reply with quote  #14 
ROSS-F&AD57-RoadSouth-11Mar2018.jpg 
Tooms Lake Road looking south past the depot.

What happens now?

Is this site deserving of an archaeological investigation?

Is the depot worthy of Tasmanian heritage listing?

Could this WWII site appeal to visitors?

Do you know anything about the history of this depot?

Have you seen any photographs of this depot, especially taken when the site was operational during World War II, or just after?

ROSS-WWII&tCM-AAAPoster-11Mar2018.jpg

The Forum is now at 1pm, following the visit to the Depot in the morning. A soldier's lunch will be provided for the troops, so best to bring a few rations. 

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visionross

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Reply with quote  #15 
Ross-FuelDepot-Arthur1-18Mar2018.jpg 
Photos by Arthur Thorpe from two decades ago.

ROSS-FuelDepot-Arthur2-18Mar2018.jpg 
A sign in the engine room that is no longer there.

ROSS-FuelDepot-Arthur8-18Mar2018.jpg 

ROSS-FuelDepot-Arthur3-18Mar2018.jpg 

ROSS-FuelDepot-Arthur4-18Mar2018.jpg 

ROSS-FuelDepot-Arthur5-18Mar2018.jpg 

ROSS-FuelDepot-Arthur6-18Mar2018.jpg 

ROSS-FuelDepot-Arthur7-18Mar2018.jpg

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