World War Two air raid shelter found in High Cross Park

18 May 2017

CBD and South East Light Rail construction crews have uncovered a World War Two air raid shelter during recent excavations at High Cross Park.  

It is the latest historical find to be unearthed in recent months, following the discovery of archaeological remains buried under Devonshire Street in Surry Hills.

The zig-zagged shape trench was exposed during excavation work for the underground electrical substation at High Cross Park.

As a precautionary measure in 1942, state and municipal authorities began to build defences such as air raid shelters and zig-zagging anti-aircraft trenches were dug into open places such as parks. The shelters came in multiple different styles and the trenches were often lined with sandbags and sheets of iron. At the end of the war, the shelters and trenches were often backfilled.

Heritage Consultant Jayden van Beek said the trench in High Cross Park was one of those filled in.

“Historic photographs taken in 1943 and some early archaeological investigations identified that High Cross Park was a location for one of these trenches, so targeted investigative excavations were carried out before the main construction work,” Jayden said.

“The site was recorded in detail before work on the construction of the new substation could continue. A full archaeological report will now be completed.”

A 1943 aerial photograph of High Cross Park, showing the location of the former air raid shelter and trench
The World War Two air raid shelter was uncovered during recent excavations at High Cross Park
The World War Two air raid shelter was uncovered during recent excavations at High Cross Park
The World War Two air raid shelter was uncovered during recent excavations at High Cross Park