Thebarton Air Raid Shelter

92 South Road TORRENSVILLE SA (Corner Ashley Street & South Road TORRENSVILLE SA)

20170126_155655

Have you ever noticed this structure on South Road, just near the Thebarton Oval? Or wondered what it is? This is an air raid shelter built in the suburb of Thebarton (it is now it Torrensville due to re-zoning) in 1942 during World War 11. It took 4 months to build and cost £2000 to complete – that’s about $AU140,000 in today’s money.

It was decided by Lt-Col Shaw, the Commissioner of Civil Defence, that the shelter would be built in this location because ovals were known landmarks with plenty of space. They were considered to be unlikely targets for enemy bombs. The function of the Thebarton shelter was a communication and dispatch point. It had 16 telephone lines – 6 in and 10 out, and should there be an enemy attack the personnel in the shelter would coordinate evacuation and rescue efforts with staff in the communication centre in the basement of the SA Savings Bank in King William Street in the city of Adelaide.

20170126_155511

The centre was also the base for ARP (Air Raid Protection) wardens. Inside the shelter there were stockpiles of food, blankets, batteries, medicines and other essential supplies. If Adelaide was attacked, the people of Adelaide were encouraged to assemble at this location and be transported by bus to safer areas away from the city.

It is worth noting that the shelter at Thebarton was not intended as a refuge point and neither were other similar control centres that were built throughout Adelaide. Slit trenches and pipe trenches were used for the protection of civilians and many people built their own in backyards and gardens.

CONSTRUCTION

The shelter is made of concrete and timber and is mostly underground. The thick roof weights about 70 tons and two staircases lead down into the shelter. The reinforced external concrete walls are 30 cms thick while the internal ones are 23 cms thick. It is not a particularly large structure measuring only about 30 X 20 metres. While there are 6 rooms inside, the largest one is only about 10 X 6 metres.

CURRENT OCCUPATION

20170126_15585720170126_155606

For a short time after the War, the shelter was used by St John’s Ambulance Brigade and then by the Girl Guides’ Association. Since 1969 the shelter has been used by two thriving magicians’ clubs – the International Brotherhood of Magicians and the Australian Society of Magicians who use the facility to hold meetings, store equipment and to house club rooms, a gallery and a museum. Note the art work featured on the South Road side of the shelter. The Society maintains the site and occasionally conducts public performances and lectures there, the last one being in May 2016. While I have not been able to find any open days scheduled for 2017, I will post dates as they are released.

While the SA Heritage Places Register lists the shelter as one of the few  in good condition in this state, it is possible that it could be removed as South Road is widened and extended. Even though you cannot see inside this facility, it is still worth a visit to the outside to see first hand what a structure of this nature looked like – while you still can.

For more information on the Air Raid Shelter –  The West Torrens Historian

Contact details for the Australian Society of Magicians are listed in the City of West Torrens Community Directory 2016 as
Peter Lohmann Phone: 0430 787 257 Email peeweetheclown@hotmail.com

Contact details for the International Brotherhood of Magicians:
call Don Gagliardi on 0428 435 778 or Drew Ames on 0439 821 708

Old Fire Station Thebarton

20170125_130744

Located in Carlton Parade | THEBARTON SA (now a private residence)

Thebarton is Adelaide’s suburb – established in 1839 just after the colony was proclaimed in 1836. Thebarton got its name from the home place of Captain Colonel William Light. His home in Suffolk, England was actually called Theberton  and it was probably a clerical/typographic error that resulted in the spelling being changed. Later when boundaries were added and changed and other suburbs established, many of the buildings that included Thebarton in their name were actually then in Torrensville – like Thebarton Oval, Thebarton Theatre, and the Old Fire Station.

Even though Thebarton was established in 1839 and was the location for many factories, it was not until 1916 that the fire station was built there and officially opened on Saturday 6th January.

The Advertiser newspaper reported the event on Monday, 8th January 1917. The report said that the button of the alarm bell was pressed and the firemen were ready in just 8 seconds, pulling out the hose along the dusty street, and had the water on in just 1 minute 46 seconds. When the bell was pressed, firemen were also summoned from nearby Adelaide and North Adelaide. The hose reel from the head station in Adelaide arrived in 7 minutes and the water was on in 73 minutes. The report went on to say that the North Adelaide unit was delayed because of at train at the Mile End railway crossing gates for 2 minutes, but still was able to reach Thebarton station in 10 minutes and 30 seconds.

The station was equipped with a large and powerful motor reel and ladder. Apart from having state of the art equipment, the building itself served a population of about 15,000. It was designed with a motor house in the middle front and flanked by the station-master’s residence on the left and the foreman’s residence on the right. The rooms were described as ‘spacious’ with provision made for 8 single men at the rear of the building. The two apartments allocated to the station-master and foreman and their families each included two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, and bathroom. The red brick building did not include any unnecessary adornments. The original design remains evident today. To see how it looked in 1920, click here.

The old Thebarton is now in Torrensville. The western suburbs are rich with history from the early years of settlement. Find the fire station on Carlton Parade and take the time to find interesting old buildings, shops and advertising signs that still exist in this vibrant multi-cultural district.

20170125_130820

Hotel Royal

20170107_124105

Lamb salad

180 Henley Beach Road TORRENSVILLE  5031 | Phone (08) 8352 7855 |
Dining times Sunday – Thursday 12pm – 3pm & 5pm – 9pm; Friday & Saturday 11am – 9pm  Website

Great location on Henley Beach Road only minutes from the CBD and close to the Airport. Art decor style renovated pub with a fresh ambiance, great service, pizzas and pub meals, as well as a bsitro offering good quality meals at great prices.
I don’t go to pubs a great deal and the experience of the Hotel Royal was very positive. Clean modern interior with plenty of casual seating in the bar area next to the Bistro. Right from the start the service was spot on with a friendly greeting, explanation about the menu if we were interested in eating there, and the offer of ice cold water – wonderful on a 40 degree day!
20170107_124227

Caesar salad

We chose to order in the bar, and the lamb salad and Caesar salad were both fresh and good size serves – excellent value for money. The area overlooking Henley Beach Road was relaxing with a choice of stools or bucket lounge seats and the volume of the cricket and the music was just right. A very pleasant experience overall.
Summary: Excellent customer service – many could learn from the staff member who served us!. Food was fresh, served quickly and at $18 were good value. Great menu choices including burgers, pizzas and standards like fish and steak just to name a few. Easy parking in Jervois Street or at the back of the Hotel. An unpretentious place with a lot to offer. Worth a try? Absolutely – even if hotels are not what you might normally consider this one is worth a go.