Urban Exploration – Adelaide’s Forgotten World War 2 Radar Station

Despite our distance from the Japanese and European theatres of war in World War 2, South Australia still played a vital role in war efforts.

Following considerable enemy activity in the southern waters, the Australian Navy requested two radar stations be built to watch over the SA coastline.  Number 10 Radar Station commenced operations in April 1943.  The concrete operators’ building is rendered to resemble rubble stonework intended to look like a ruined house from the air. Three diesel engines were housed in an underground room nearby. A staff of about 50, mainly from the Women’s Australian Air Force (WAAAF), and an armed guard who patrolled the property, were accommodated in staff quarters in a nearby gully in huts deliberately designed to resemble shearing sheds.

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Artist sketch of No. 10 Radar Station showing aerial placement and “ruin” camouflage

The radar station operated without incident, closing in late 1944 but briefly reopening after German U-Boat U-862 was located in South Australia’s waters.  At the end of the war, the station was closed and it’s equipment sold.

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Some of the WAAAF radar operators stationed at the camp
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The Radar Station camp in the war years

Today, what is left of No. 10 Radar Station mainly consists of the oblong concrete building which housed the operators and supported the radar antenna.  The outer “ruinous” walls have collapsed, so that the building looks a much less convincing ruin today than it did in wartime photographs.  The underground room is inaccessible – flooded with decades of rancid water and sheep carcasses.

 

The local council are currently in discussion with the property owner to make the site a publically accessible lookout in order to take in the magnificent coastal views.  In the meantime, it remains on private property, through numerous locked farm gates at the end of a very long dry-weather-only road.

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