Lake Macquarie History

Nissen Huts

Nissen Huts were designed to be used as a temporary and low cost accommodation solution during the second world war. They were a simple design that made efficient use of materials when constructed.

The Nissen Hut was named after its inventor, British Army engineer Major Peter Nissen, in the early 20th century and were initially intended for military use. These low cost huts are a prefabricated shelter constructed of predominantly corrugated iron, with a steel frame and timber at each end. The unique shape is of a long, slightly flat cylinder.

photo: nissen hut

During the Second World War, these huts were used for temporary military camps set up by the Commonwealth government. Local camps were situated at Stockton and New Lambton. At the end of the war the Commonwealth Disposals Commission negotiated the use of these huts with the NSW State Government with a view to using the former army huts as much needed immigrant housing.

Relocation

Around 50 of the huts were then relocated in the Lake Macquarie suburb of Belmont North. These huts are dispersed within Arlington, Harlo, Tamar and Somerset streets. At the time the living conditions were isolated and the settlement largely was surrounded by bushland. Transport consisted of the Belmont to Adamstown rail line and a bus service.

The huts are thought to have been in place by 1945. Due to the high occupation rate of British immigrant families the allotment was known as "Pommy Town". These immigrants came to Australia to assist with the post war recovery of Australian industry. Employment was to be found at the Redhead coal colliery, Lakeside timber mill and small industries in the Belmont area.

Resources held in the library

Lake Macquarie City Council conservation management strategy : Nissen Huts, Belmont North / Andrews Neil Urban Design Group [prepared for] Lake Macquarie City Council. (2008)

Statement of heritage impact for Nissen Hut no. 42 Arlington Street Belmont North / statement prepared by Martin Anderson. (2004)

Report on historical research : nissen hut residence 4 Somerset Street Belmont North NSW / Joy Hughes for Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales. (2009)