Bit of a throwback Thursday with a some Gorge history.
I’m sure many, if not all riders, have seen the ruins on the South Side trails overlooking the river. The stairs and blue stone rubble are remnants of what was a RAAF training site during WWII. The rubble alongside the trail is the remains of the store and workshop building. We encourage riders to have a look around but please stay off the sites to preserve their integrity.
During World War 2 the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) had a Hygiene Training Camp located on the Plenty River, just south of the Janefield community.
On 12 August 1943 the RAAF Medical Training Unit relocated from Laverton to Larundel. Shortly after a decision was made that a bush Hygiene Training Camp was required and it was constructed entirely from salvaged materials. The camp was built for both display and instructional purposes for Australian Service personnel. There were many working field exhibitions for both static and mobile units. Instruction was given in subjects such as the building of latrines, construction and maintenance of grease-traps, water purification, malaria control, elementary plumbing and carpentry.
Aviation Medicine was also taught at the camp. Several structures believed to be mocked up aircraft were seen by civilians from vantage points along the boundary of the camp. It has since been confirmed that initially an aircraft fuselage was located at the camp. It is not known when it was removed.
Records indicate the first visit to the camp occurred on the 27 January 1944. Over the next 18 months many RAAF personnel visited the camp to receive instruction. In May 1945 consideration was given to upgrading the lighting of the camp. On 28 November 1945 (with the war in the Pacific having concluded on 15 August 1945) the camp was visited by a Mr Limbrick who made an inventory of buildings and effects for disposal. By the 18 January 1946 the RAAF Medical Training Unit was officially disbanded.
Today if you follow the river from Greensborough to Janefield you may be lucky enough to sight the remains of the camp. Approaching from the south of the camp the first evidence you will see are the remains of a number of hygiene stands along a creek leading down to the Plenty River. Further along on your right you will sight the remains of the mess, a concrete floor and the remnants of walls. On your left is a pile of building rubble, this was the location of the Officer in Charge’s accommodation. Behind the mess, hidden away out of sight in the trees and on the escarpment to the river, are the ruins of the store/workshop building. Rabbits have burrowed under the floor and it is in the process of collapsing – watch your step.
Care should be taken to meet all park regulations when walking in the area now that the remains have been identified. It is the intention of VicParks to preserve and acknowledge this small area of Greensborough’s past.
Thanks for the information go to Greensborough RSL from their 2010 Christmas Newsletter. http://bit.ly/1JN9tTz
The Victorian Heritage Database’s Summary can also be found here: http://bit.ly/1W2ULfQ