Newington Armament Depot
Our Tour this time is to the Newington Armament Depot.
Unknown to the great majority of the population, since 1909 there has been a very interesting 610mm (2 ft) gauge railway quietly operating on most days at the Royal Australian Navy Armament Depot "Newington", a mere 18 km West of Sydney, right next to the Olympic site, but well hidden from public view
The first building on the site, a powder magazine built in 1897 for the Royal Marine Garrison is still there and in good order. Federation came in 1901 and the site came under the control of the Commonwealth Naval Forces, followed in 1921 by the Royal Australian Navy. The Navy kept very strict control over the site, keeping the base well maintained and largely historically intact. Around 1996, the R.A.N. began a slow but certain move out of the depot, the control of which had been handed over to the Olympic Co-ordination Authority, but with the Navy retaining a lease.
There is approximately 7 km of lines in the depot on which run several trains hauled or propelled by each of the four 1964 model Gemco battery electric locomotives.
There are hundreds of buildings, take a ride through the one built in 1897 and visit the interior of building 20 in the colonial precinct, a former cordite explosives store, to see one of three pre 1900 rail wagons. There are also many lineside views of the trains, in historic locations, through scenic woodland, beside the wetlands and in the wharf area with its two Navy cranes.
5th September 1975 two armament workers were killed in an explosion at the RAN’s Armament Depot, at Newington, Sydney. The accident occurred during the testing of a torpedo firing pistol.
This was a great insight into Sydney’s past and was a tour that showed many new and interesting facts and exhibits not normally viewed.
We recommend that everyone must visit this unique and fascinating location. We thank the people of Newington for a great day out.
Click a picture to enlarge
The loading wharf, where the lighters ( barges) would be loaded with their explosive loads to transport to the harbour for the Navy vessels, now a tranquil restaurant.
The warning sign, advising that you are entering a live explosive area, listing all the don’ts, you would think some are common sense……..but….there’s always one.
Sign sign every where is sign, well no-one can ever say they weren’t told. One that does tell a bit about the times I fell is the last one.
One of the heavy lifting cranes river side to lift creates and torpedos on to lighters.Theses are kept in very good condition, unlike Cockatoo.
One of the small yet powerful electric locomotives, these were extensively used up until the hand over to Olympic Organisation.
Other view of the locomotive, this time showing the new cargo carriages, hauling the new cargo , people, visitors learning more about our past
The new carriages, showing the new type of seating and the modern styling of the carriage.
Slightly different locomotive, again electric, to reduce the heat factor and reduce the chance of ignition source.
One of the older style Navy guided missile, although old still lethal. These were one of the Navy’s front line defence.
Torpedo away, used in the Oxley class submarines, pack a nasty surprise for target they are fired at. Most of the torpedo is taken up just to propel the unit in the water.
Here we have another attack/defensive missile. This launched from the ship usually against submarines, when near the location of the enemy the torpedo carried would be released.
Another type of antisubmarine weapon. These mortar’s would usually be fired in groups and in specific patterns. These replace the old “depth charges”.
Loaded and the weapons all cased up ready for delivery to the lighter for delivery to the Navy vessel located in Sydney harbour.
Another load ready to transport. Here we see a set of mortars and a torpedo. From here they would be taken to the river for loading, Static electricity was also of great concern when dealing with explosives.
Photos courtesy Steven Walker