Marrangaroo, New South Wales

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

New South Wales
Marrangaroo is located in New South Wales
Coordinates33°26′0″S 150°07′0″E / 33.43333°S 150.11667°E / -33.43333; 150.11667Coordinates: 33°26′0″S 150°07′0″E / 33.43333°S 150.11667°E / -33.43333; 150.11667
Population869 (2006 census)[1]
Elevation1,200 m (3,937 ft)
LGA(s)City of Lithgow
State electorate(s)Bathurst
Federal Division(s)Calare
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
19.1 °C
66 °F
6.3 °C
43 °F
786.9 mm
31 in

Marrangaroo is a small town in the Central West of New South Wales, Australia in the City of Lithgow.


Marrangaroo is located a few kilometres or 5 minutes west of Lithgow. It is accessible from the Great Western Highway, and has no rail station and little bus services. Lithgow Buslines, a division of Buslines Group, run buses between Lithgow and Bathurst, which makes limited stops at Marrangaroo on the Great Western Highway. A main feature of Marrangaroo was the Trout Farm which was opposite the Lithgow Correctional Centre. At the 2006 census, Marrangaroo had a population of 869.[1]


Empty 250lb bombs

Marrangaroo Army Camp situated at the end of Reserve Road used to be a major ammunition depot from 1941 to the late 1980s. It is now used for demolitions and various training by all three Australian Defence Force services. During the World War II it housed chemical warfare facilities; at the time, one of Australia's best kept secrets. Marrangaroo was the administration headquarters for all of the Royal Australian Air Force Chemical Weapon Stores which were kept in tunnels and sidings at Marrangaroo (old tunnel and siding near correctional centre), Glenbrook tunnel in the Blue Mountains, Clarence Tunnel (that is now part of the Lithgow Zig Zag railway) and Picton tunnel in Sydney's south.[2]

During an interview with Plunkett in 2005, chemical warfare armourer, Geoff Burn mentioned he had been involved in the burial of 250 pounds (110 kg) phosgene bombs near the entrance to the headquarters in 1943. He was subsequently recalled from Cairns in 1944 to identify the site but was unsure as to whether and if the bombs had been extracted. After Burn marked the site on an aerial map a ground search revealed they were still there. The legacy of these weapons remains with several hundred empty chemical munition containers being found buried at Marrangaroo Army Camp from May 2008 to February 2009.[3][4]

A remediation project to remove heavy metal contamination started in November 2008 with a secondary task to remove any more buried chemical munitions. The revelation of Marrangaroo's history sparked significant local media interest.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11] The Department of Defence established a website for community consultation and feedback on the decontamination.[12]


Marrangaroo station c. 1950s.

A railway station opened at Marrangaroo on the Main Western line in 1878 and closed in 1974. Little trace of it remains.[13] Also, it has been suggested as the western terminus for the proposed Bells Line Expressway.[14]

Heritage listings[edit]

Marrangaroo has a number of heritage-listed sites, including:

Preceding station   NSW Main lines   Following station
towards Bourke
Main Western Line
towards Sydney


  1. ^ a b Australian Bureau of Statistics (25 October 2007). "Marrangaroo (State Suburb)". 2006 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 27 October 2009.
  2. ^ Plunkett, Geoff (2007). Chemical Warfare in Australia (PDF). Bayswater, Victoria: Shannon Books. ISBN 9781876439880. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
  3. ^ Ashworth, Len (7 August 2008). "Base's phantom war reveals its secrets" (PDF). Lithgow Mercury. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
  4. ^ Ashworth, Len (9 August 2008). "Chemical warfare left its legacy" (PDF). Lithgow Mercury. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
  5. ^ Ashworth, Len (17 July 2008). "Chemical experiments in the Eighties". Lithgow Mercury. Archived from the original on 18 July 2012. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
  6. ^ Ashworth, Len (17 July 2008). "Hidden Newnes Forest storage has added to military puzzle" (PDF). Lithgow Mercury. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 July 2012. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
  7. ^ Ashworth, Len (5 August 2008). "Railway historians join chemical warfare issue" (PDF). Lithgow Mercury. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
  8. ^ Ashworth, Len (17 July 2008). "Chemical experiments in the Eighties" (PDF). Lithgow Mercury. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
  9. ^ Ashworth, Len (8 July 2008). "Mustard gas tainted our reputation" (PDF). Lithgow Mercury. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
  10. ^ Vollmer, Tim (22 September 2008). "Chemical bombs sit metres from Lithgow families for 60 years". The Daily Telegraph. Australia. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
  11. ^ Geddes, Jeff (7 February 2009). "Cleansing our military 'sins'" (PDF). Lithgow Mercury. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
  12. ^ "Marrangaroo Army Depot Environmental Remediation Project". Department of Defence. 6 August 2009. Retrieved 5 April 2012.
  13. ^ "Marrangaroo station". Retrieved 8 August 2009.
  14. ^ "Bells Line of Road Long Term Strategic Corridor Plan: Background Summary and Corridor Objectives Report" (PDF). NSW Roads and Traffic Authority. 27 October 2010. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  15. ^ "Marrangaroo railway viaduct". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Office of Environment and Heritage. H01046. Retrieved 18 May 2018.