Quirky’s Quirk is the Air Raid Shelters from around Brisbane during World War II.

• During World War II many air raid shelters were built around Brisbane to protect Brisbane residents.

• In fact in 1941, a Protection of Persons and Property Order was introduced requiring Brisbane City Council to construct 200 public air raid shelters in the city centre.

• In 1942 Brisbane became the headquarters for military planning under US General Douglas MacArthur.

• There were three to four million US troops stationed across Queensland, with more than 300,000 of these descending upon Brisbane – this was more than double its population at that time

• The need for air raid shelters became important and in the end, a total of 235 air raid shelters were constructed in the city centre during wartime.

• Air raid shelters were constructed at Howard Smith Wharves, Elizabeth Street in the City, Windsor, Nundah and Morningside.


• Each shelter followed a base design by City Architect, Frank G Costello.

• The design was innovative and was made up of brick walls and a large cantilevered roof.

• Costello decided to plan for the shelters to have a life after the war, designing them to be partially dismantled and used as park shelters or bus and tram shelters.

• Only two brick air raid shelters survive at bus stops – one at Newstead and one at Newmarket.

• The former tram shelter at King Edward Park is the only stone air raid shelter left around the city centre.

• You can learn more about the air raid shelters in Elizabeth Street by joining Council’s City Centre Heritage Trail.


• Visit Council’s website to download the Heritage Trail.

Photo: Supplied

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