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The Archaeology of Air Raid Shelters Alice Gorman Department of Archaeology Flinders University Alice Gorman Department of Archaeology Flinders University.

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Presentation on theme: "The Archaeology of Air Raid Shelters Alice Gorman Department of Archaeology Flinders University Alice Gorman Department of Archaeology Flinders University."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Archaeology of Air Raid Shelters Alice Gorman Department of Archaeology Flinders University Alice Gorman Department of Archaeology Flinders University

2 Why archaeology?  Not just pyramids and pots  Material culture tells different stories to historical documents  Growing interest in the recent past  Not just pyramids and pots  Material culture tells different stories to historical documents  Growing interest in the recent past Remembering the past - air raid shelter mural, UK

3 The Brisbane Line  First raised in 1908 by Lord Kitchener  1938: population of Australia at 7 million  Fear of Japanese invasion  Adelaide is a target  First raised in 1908 by Lord Kitchener  1938: population of Australia at 7 million  Fear of Japanese invasion  Adelaide is a target Air raids and naval encounters

4 South Australian Defence Society  Founded by Natalia Davies in 1933  Raise awareness and teach ARP  Membership mostly women  Gender roles on the home front  Founded by Natalia Davies in 1933  Raise awareness and teach ARP  Membership mostly women  Gender roles on the home front Demonstrating air raid precautions in Adelaide

5 Official organisation  Commissioner for Civil Defence appointed  Emergency Powers Act  Jan arrangements for air raid warnings “backward” in SA  Commissioner for Civil Defence appointed  Emergency Powers Act  Jan arrangements for air raid warnings “backward” in SA

6 Conflicting views on ARP  Building morale or creating paranoia?  ARP: Sham or Shelter? By a group of Australian Scientists for the Research Group of the Left Book Club of Victoria  Building morale or creating paranoia?  ARP: Sham or Shelter? By a group of Australian Scientists for the Research Group of the Left Book Club of Victoria

7 Types of air raid shelter  Personal  Public  Corporate  Military  Personal  Public  Corporate  Military  Subterranean  Above ground  Cellars and basements  Caves  Tunnels  Slit trenches  Subterranean  Above ground  Cellars and basements  Caves  Tunnels  Slit trenches Mackay, Qld

8 Features of air raid shelters  Shield from flying debris  Entrance features blast-proof  Robust reinforced concrete  Ventilation  Sanitary facilities  Shield from flying debris  Entrance features blast-proof  Robust reinforced concrete  Ventilation  Sanitary facilities Entrance - Isle of Sheppey, UK

9 Subterranean  Air Raid Practice, Australian General Hospital, Sydney, August 1942

10 Deep trench  Belsize Park, UK  Very expensive  “Shelter mentality”  Not used in Australia  Belsize Park, UK  Very expensive  “Shelter mentality”  Not used in Australia

11 Concrete pipes  Adelaide, March Air raid shelter in Botanical Gardens.

12 Dual purpose pillbox  Brisbane City Council public shelters  Design allowed brick walls to be dismantled - used as bus shelters, public toilets, after the war  16 heritage listed today  Brisbane City Council public shelters  Design allowed brick walls to be dismantled - used as bus shelters, public toilets, after the war  16 heritage listed today

13 Slit trenches  Adelaide digging air raid trenches  Whitmore Square  Most commonly used type in Australia  Adelaide digging air raid trenches  Whitmore Square  Most commonly used type in Australia

14 Public air raid shelter  UK - designed to fit 50 people  Many air raid shelter designs resemble public toilets  UK - designed to fit 50 people  Many air raid shelter designs resemble public toilets

15 Anderson shelter  Designed 1938 for use in backyards  2 million in Britain by 1939  Manufactured by Lysaght in Australia  Designed 1938 for use in backyards  2 million in Britain by 1939  Manufactured by Lysaght in Australia

16 Morrison shelter  June 1941  Sleeps 2-3 people and doubles as a table during the day  June 1941  Sleeps 2-3 people and doubles as a table during the day

17 Backyard trench  Adelaide 1942  Air Raid Precautions were a family affair  Adelaide 1942  Air Raid Precautions were a family affair

18 “Our air raid shelter” Recorded by Jack Davey, April 1942 We ’ ve got a house down by the sea, We ’ ve been busy with the ARP, We ’ ve built a place where we can hide, Now it bulges when we get inside. It ’ s made of bags filled up with sand, And all the neighbours lent a helping hand, When it was built, we raised a shout, We rushed in and now we can ’ t get out. We ’ ve got a house down by the sea, We ’ ve been busy with the ARP, We ’ ve built a place where we can hide, Now it bulges when we get inside. It ’ s made of bags filled up with sand, And all the neighbours lent a helping hand, When it was built, we raised a shout, We rushed in and now we can ’ t get out.

19 Air raid paraphernalia

20 The Repat shelters  Three subterranean shelters  Up to 300 people  Military - medical  Filled in between 1958 and 1970  Three subterranean shelters  Up to 300 people  Military - medical  Filled in between 1958 and 1970

21 The Repat project  Repat approaches Department of Archaeology, Flinders University  Preliminary excavations uncover a path  Oral history collection  October Geophysical survey

22 What will we learn?  Construction: represents level of fear?  Style: what are the influences?  Use: internal floor plan, artefacts  Informal use: is there any evidence?  Construction: represents level of fear?  Style: what are the influences?  Use: internal floor plan, artefacts  Informal use: is there any evidence? School shelter in Croydon, UK

23 Contemporary relevance  Social memory  Can material culture mediate fear?  Cold War, nuclear bunkers  Responses to threats in post 9/11 world  Social memory  Can material culture mediate fear?  Cold War, nuclear bunkers  Responses to threats in post 9/11 world

24 What’s next  completion of geophysical survey  Excavation to uncover air raid shelters  completion of geophysical survey  Excavation to uncover air raid shelters


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