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RAN Armament Depot Sydney

This page is an overview only. Relevant content can be found on the pages for individual locations.

The initial RAN depot in Sydney for ammunition and guns was known as the Naval Ordnance Depot, Spectacle Island. In 1921, and following a similar change by the Admiralty, the depot was renamed as the Royal Australian Naval Armament Depot (no "Sydney" or "Spectacle Island" - there were no other naval armament depots in Australia at the time). (Navy Order 24 of 1921). At this period, the depot was confined to Spectacle Island, and comprised Magazine (explosives) and Gunwharf (guns, large calibre gun barrels, small arms, accoutrements etc.) activities.

In 1921, the military magazine at Newington was transferred to Navy, and additional storage at Georges Head Battery and Chowder Bay Mining Depot was taken into use as a temporary measure (i.e. without any property transfer).

Read the Annual Reports of the RAN Armament Depot Sydney for 1928-29 and 1935 to find out what the Depot was doing at that time.

From 1921 until the 1960s, the organisation was known as either the Naval Armament Depot(s), Sydney or the RAN Armament Depot(s), Sydney (terminology wasn't always consistent). By 1950 it comprised a Magazine Section, with operations at Newington, Kingswood and St Marys, and a Gunwharf Section, with operations on Spectacle Island.

On 2 December 1963 the Gunwharf section at Spectacle Island merged with the Gunnery Equipment Depot at Garden Island; the merged organisation was called the RAN Weapon Equipment Depot, Garden Island.

By the mid-1960s, although the organisation remained headed by the Superintending Armament Supply Officer, the individual depots were organisationally independent, and comprised:

From the formation of the Navy Supply Division in 1966, the Armament Depots at Maribyrnong and Byford came under the supervision of the Superintending Armament Supply Officer in lieu of the Director of Armament Supply as previously.

Wartime depots at Brisbane and Darwin, and the RAN Mine Depot at Swan Island had closed prior to the formation of the Navy Supply Division, and were never under the control of the Superintending Armament Supply Officer.

More information is available about the Executive staff of the depot and the Armament Branch generally.

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Robert Curran
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