3 ADVANCED ORDNANCE DEPOT (3 AOD)
WALLANGARRA LOGISTICS SUPPORT AREA, QLD
AND
1 ADVANCED AMMUNITION DEPOT (1 AAD)
JENNINGS, NSW, DURING WW2

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visits since 30 November 2001

 

The Queensland Main Roads Commission built an Ammunition Depot for the Australian Army at Jennings (NSW) near Wallangarra (QLD) during WW2. This was known as the 1 Advanced Ammunition Depot (1AAD).

Some buildings were built with the assistance of the Tenterfield Shire Council on the New South Wales side of the border in one depot area.

Five semi-underground ammunition shelters were initially constructed. At a later stage ten timber structures and seventy Williams huts were erected. Some other buildings were also erected by separate contractors. The whole area was fenced. Roads within the depot area and a bitumen-sealed road from the depot to the special two-gauge railway siding were also constructed. Minimum clearing of trees was permitted in the area to help camouflage the depot from aerial reconnaissance.


Photo:- Brian Leedham

Transhipping platforms within the railway yard at Wallangarra, October 2002

 


Photo:- Brian Leedham

Transhipping platforms within the railway yard at Wallangarra, October 2002

Whilst there was some confusion by the NSW authorities in the early years whether to call their side of the railway station Wallangarra or Jennings, they finally settled on Wallangarra around April 1904. Hence there is no Jennings Railway Station.

During WW2 thousands of Allied troops passed through Wallangarra Railway Station on their way north or south. Due to wartime secrecy arrangements, railway staff were only given about 2 hours notice of the arrival of a troop train. This gave the dedicated railway staff enough time to cook and serve on arrival, hearty meals of sausages, mashed potato and gravy.

A file exists in the National Archives Australia about and explosion at the 36 Australian Employment Company (utilising Javanese POW's / internees and German prisoners of war) at Wallangarra.

 


 

Bill Durrant provided me with the following history and photos of 1AAD at Jennings and 3 AOD at Wallangarra:-

 

Out of necessity in WWII, the Unit was established at the break in rail gauges between Queensland and New South Wales. At that time, trains travelling in either direction were unable to continue their journey past the border, and all passengers and cargo had to be cross-loaded onto the other States railway stock.

The Unit utilised both States railway lines, which enabled stores and Ammunition to be loaded, unloaded, and stockpiled for later distribution.

In 1942, at the same time that the Wallangarra Logistics Support Area (3 Advanced Ordnance Depot (3 AOD) was being established on the Queensland side of the border, 1 Advanced Ammunition Depot (1 AAD) was being established at Jennings on the New South Wales side of the border.

The Allied Works Council developed the Wallangarra Logistic Support Area from March of 1942 until 1945, and ‘Dredge and Hodge’ of Toowoomba won the contract to construct the Ordnance Depot.

The Commanding Officers of the two separate Depots took Command of their Units in September of 1943.

 

1 Advanced Ammunition Depot (1AAD) was given command of the following sub-units:

11 Field Ammunition Depot at Helidon, QLD

12 Field Ammunition Depot at Enoggera, QLD

13 Field Ammunition Depot at Blackbutt, QLD.

 

Co-located with 1AAD was:-

1 Ammunition Inspection and proof section

3 Ammunition Ordnance Depot (3 AOD)

2 Advanced Ordnance Vehicle Park (2 AOVP) (Disbanded 1947)

AWAS Camp (disbanded 1945)

36 Australian Employment Company (utilising Javanese POW's / internees and German prisoners of war- anecdotal evidence exists for this)

Detachment of 1 Australian Garrison Battalion (for security)

Two Sections of 'Horse Transport'

 

2 AOVP held a large amount of different types of vehicle, and as a result was given command of its own workshop. This workshop was 2/1 Base AEME Workshop.(Disbanded 1946)

During peak periods in 1944 up to 28 trains from NSW, and up to 30 trains from QLD, would come into Wallangarra per day. The amount of Ammunition moved during these peak periods was approximately 9000 ton per day. The Ammunition was unloaded by hand, by the 'Employment Company', and moved by the two Sections of 'Horse Transport' (horse and wagon) from the Jennings Railway Siding to the Ammunition Depot.

1 Australian Army Troops were trained and supported within the Wallangarra Support Area from 1943 to 1945.

The Unit had its own Power generating plant, and its own water supply. (The Army Powerhouse ceased operation in 1954 as electricity was extended from Tenterfield to Wallangarra)

The Unit now known as 'Northern Logistic Group - Wallangarra' has had a variety of name changes over the years since it started being built in March of 1942. Since then it has been two separate Depots, combined Depots, and a single Unit:

WALLANGARRA (QLD)

1943 - 3 Advanced Ordnance Depot (3AOD)

1948 - 5 Central Ordnance Depot (5 COD)

1959 - 5 COD and 1 CAD (Combined Unit)

1973 - 112 Supply Company

1976 - 131 Supply Company

1983 - Wallangarra Supply Company

1994 - Wallangarra Logistic Company (WLC)

2001 - Northern Logistic Group - Wallangarra (NLG-W)

 

JENNINGS (NSW)

1943 - 1 Advanced Ammunition Depot (1AAD)

1948 - 1 Central Ammunition Depot (1 CAD)

1973 - Ammunition Platoon 112 Supply Company

1973 - Ammunition Platoon 131 Supply Company

1983 - Ammunition Platoon - Wallangarra Supply Company

1994 - Ammunition Platoon - Wallangarra Logistic Company

 

(In 2000 the Ammunition Platoon came under command of the Joint Ammunition Logistic Organisation (JALO))

The Unit has continued its task from 1942 up till the present day, but on a smaller scale than was seen during WWII.

 

1aad01.jpg (32412 bytes) 1 AAD Ammunition Storehouse under construction in 1942
1aad02.jpg (45319 bytes) 1 AAD Jennings Railway Siding in 1942
1aad03.jpg (43627 bytes) 1 AAD Jennings Railway Siding in 1942
1aad04.jpg (41909 bytes) 1 AAD Jennings Railway Siding bunker in 1942
1aad05.jpg (62439 bytes) 1 AAD Photo "Sydney Williams Storehouse under construction in 1942
1aad06.jpg (50981 bytes) 1 AAD Four unidentified personnel in front of ?? in 1942
1aad07.jpg (31926 bytes) 1 AAD Ammo Storehouse and Blast Traverse in 1944
3aod01.jpg (37471 bytes) 3 AOD - Tent accommodation in 1942
3aod02.jpg (50135 bytes) 3 AOD under construction in 1942
3aod03.jpg (61611 bytes) 3 AOD Headquarters Camp in 1942
3aod04.jpg (49175 bytes) 3 AOD Officer's Mess in 1943
3aod05.jpg (47750 bytes) 3 AOD Sergeant's and Men's Mess in 1943
3aod06.jpg (55190 bytes) 3 AOD Temporary Married Quarters in 1944
3aod07.jpg (46282 bytes) Letter of thanks from General Blamey in 1944
3aod08.jpg (602072 bytes) 3 AOD Aerial photo of Wallangarra and Stores Depot

 


 

Three unknown ammunition dumps were discovered in the Wallangarra area in 1987. Their find gave cause for much concern amongst authorities as the find contained mustard gas and phosgene gas.

 

Can anyone tell me some more about this ammunition depot?

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Sergeant Bill Durrant, Brian Leedham and Patrick Hodgson for their assistance with this home page.

 

BOOK REFERENCES

"The History of the Queensland Main Roads Commission during World War II, 1939 - 1945"

"History of 131st Supply Company"
undated and by author unknown

"The History of Wallangarra Logistic Company", circ 1995
by Captain Bradley Scott, 

 

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This page first produced 20 May 2001

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