HOME OF THE LADY DENMAN - Local history isn't always about the big story - the everyday story of life in the early development of the region can be a fascinating, entertaining and educational journey.

4 November 2015

Jervis Bay - World War Two – The “Tubes”


With the fear of an invasion by an enemy force, the government implemented measures inside Jervis Bay to surprise the enemy.

The Navy has long used Jervis Bay for “shot practice”. During the war Jervis Bay was used by the Australian Navy as a staging place. They would move ships between Sydney Harbour and  Jervis Bay.

document(222) The Australian Navy Squadron.  The War Vessels Nelson and Rapid in Jervis Bay – Torpedo and Boarding Practice.

Two of the fastest ships afloat at the time the  passenger liners  Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth, were converted into troop carriers.  They would be loaded with supplies and troops in Sydney Harbour and then under cover make the run to Jervis Bay.  The trip was always perilous as the east coast was patrolled by marauding enemy submarines.

The ships would shelter inside Jervis Bay before embarking for the middle East.

To protect the ships and the bay from a sea bound enemy attack, strategically placed, land bound torpedo launching tubes,  two sets, four tubes in total,  were placed on the north side of the bay.  One just inside Point Perpendicular.

A gun emplacement was also installed onto Bowen Island in an attempt to catch the invading navy in a cross fire.

“The tubes” rusting remains can still be seen on the rock ledges,  the one inside Point Perpendicular “the Outer Tubes” is now more famous for being a world class land based marlin fishing location.  It’s not uncommon for over a hundred marling to be caught off the rocks during the season.

“Outer Tubes” well tucked away and protected from enemy guns.
 torpedo-tubes-1 Fishermen set up for catching marlin.

The “Inner Tubes’ are less frequently visited.  In the early 1970’s before the track closures, we use to make our way to the inner tubes via a rough four wheel drive track,  there use to be a beautiful old sandstone house built in colonial style,  sitting on the ridge above the small secluded harbour known as ‘Little Boat Harbour”.  This old house was used to house the men and equipment that manned “the tubes”.

Sometime in the late 80’s? early 90’s? the Navy took the decision to blow this remarkable old sandstone house into eternity,  leaving nothing but a huge crater,  garbage and twisted broken trees.     One can only think that if it had been left alone it would now be regarded as another valuable piece of Jervis Bay History.

I have been trying to find an image of the old house but have had no luck as yet – if you have an image please let me know – contact details are above.

 tlInner tubes.
 tl-1 tl-2

The “Tubes” were never tested in battle,  just how successful they would have been is debatable.  One can think it was more an exercise in public relations that any sort of real defence strategy.

Both can still be reached,  the outer tubes is easier to access via the Point Perpendicular Lighthouse car park, the track is marked  and stairs provided, “the inner tubes”  takes more effort and guidance from National Parks Rangers is suggested.

Both are located in spectacular spots,  and if you have the chance should be visited..


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