World War 2 Air Raid Sirens in the District

by Rosemary Phillis

The arrival of a former WW2 air raid siren at the Museum prompted some questioning about air raid sirens in Riverstone. We have assembled what information we could find, but are interested in any further information or photos that people may have to share.

In 1995, Joyce Wood, whose father, Hugh O’Kane, was the Chief Warden in Riverstone, recalled: When notified of an air raid or practice, the air raid siren was activated from our home (9 Oxford Street Riverstone). The siren was located in Garfield Road on a telegraph pole between what was recently an antique shop and Dr Rose’s surgery.

The following 1942 newspaper item from the Windsor and Richmond Gazette explained to residents what the various air raid sounds signalled.

After the war National Emergency Service air raid sirens were supposed to be returned to the Department of Public Works. Some local fire brigades requested through their local council that the sirens be donated for the purpose of signalling a fire or emergency.

The Windsor and Richmond Gazette 6 March 1946 reported that the Richmond Council was unsuccessful in requesting to keep the siren and triple set of hooters used at Richmond. Later that year the Gazette of 27 November 1946 reported that the Windsor Council was granted permission to hand over their remaining NES siren to Oakville Bush Fire Brigade.

Close up of Oakville Rural Fire Brigade siren in April 2013.

Oakville Rural Fire Brigade siren on pole at the back of their headquarters in April 2013

The Garfield Road Riverstone Siren
The former Riverstone siren which stood in Garfield Road remained in place until the 1950s. In 1995 Doreen Ross, Secretary of the Schofields Bushfire Brigade checked the minutes of the Brigade. They recorded that the Riverstone siren was donated to the Schofields Bushfire Brigade and installed next to their building on 18 December 1956.

Year unknown, the Schofields Bushfire Brigade shed, showing the siren in place and the old Schofields Railway Station on the other side of the line. Photo: Doreen Ross

Although no longer in regular use, the siren can still be seen on a metal tower behind the current Brigade shed at Schofields, as shown below in the photos taken in March 2013.

Another siren in Riverstone.
Clarrie Neal recalls that when his family purchased a house at 13 Brisbane Street, Riverstone there was a pole attached to the top right hand side of the house with a small horn attached. This was a former air raid siren operated by Ron Allen, who was a Warden during the war. Unfortunately the siren rusted away over the years and was disposed of.

The Neal family home in Brisbane Street. The siren is was gone by the time this photo was taken, and if you look very carefully you can see the piece of timber attached to the front right hand side of the roof of the house. Photo: Clarrie Neal