In 1941, The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)built a bunker into the side of a hill to hide it from the Japanese. It was used to store fuel for the Mildura base which is nearby on the Murray River in Victoria.
Now the WWII bunker at 2 Nemsata Lane in Yelta with its 8mm steel walls encased in reinforced concrete is listed for sale as a four-bedroom home in an upcoming real estate auction. The price guide for the property is $260,000 to $280,000.
Thirty years ago, Stephen Gooding purchased four bunkers on a four hectare property and transformed them into homes for himself and his family and is being sold by www.realestate.com.au
According to Gooding, the bunkers were closed in 1945 and privatized after that. When he bought them, they were still surrounded with barbed wire.
Gooding currently lives with his wife in a bunker that he converted into a six-bedroom home. He sold two of the others. Last week, along with his son, Zachary, he put the fourth bunker up for sale.
The unique home sits on 5,000 square meters of land which the new owner can do with as they like.
Each room in the bunker has its own ceiling fan. The kitchen contains a gas oven and range and a dishwasher. The living area is open throughout the kitchen, dining room, and living room. There are also two bathrooms.
The temperature in the home stays around 20 degree Celsius so heating and cooling bills are low. The home has an additional unfinished room upstairs.
One of the selling points for the property is the extreme privacy. According to Gooding, you cannot hear your neighbors. The property will be sold at auction on November 16th.
Gooding said that people who had worked in the bunkers throughout the years would stop by to visit. He also did some research into their history shortly after he purchased them. When he went to the archives to see the records, they were still marked as Top Secret from the war. He paid around $75 to have the files released.
The house is listed by Professionals Mildura. Agent Tony Graham says that the home would appeal to anyone seeking peace and quiet or a “blank canvas” home they can remodel as they like.
Zachary had lived in the home with his wife, Bianca, and their son, Charlie. They are selling the home in order to move to Queensland.
The bunker was part of the Mildura No. 29 Inland Aircraft Fuel Depot. It was used by the RAAF from 1942 to 1947. No. 29 IAFD was part of 31 Inland Aircraft Fuel Depots that were built by 1944. Each bunker was staffed with a five-man crew consisting of a cook, an equipment assistant and three guards.
The bunkers were established after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor made a potential invasion of Australia much more likely. As a result of the military’s actions to defend the country, six-month fuel usage estimates rose from 3.2 million gallons at the beginning of December 1941 to 15 million gallons by the end of the year.
The January estimates rose to 40 million gallons for the RAAF and another 10 million gallons for the US Army Air Corps units dispatched to Australia. The ability of the RAAF to defend against a Japanese invasion was increasingly tied to the availability of fuel. This was the necessity that led to building the 31 fuel depots and to increasing the capacity of the tanks in the depots that had already been built.
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After the war, No. 29 IAFD was sold to the NSW Water Commission who used it to store oil. They were sold to private buyers around 1992.