Historic Chowder Bay

Submarine Mining Depot, Chowder Bay

Named after the whalers who made chowder from the bay’s abundant seafood, Chowder Bay is located on the southern side of Sydney’s Middle Head peninsula and another piece of Sydney Harbour’s intriguing maritime history.

The Depot Building is the centrepiece of the Chowder Bay Group and the home of East Coast Lounge. It is the most prominently located and aesthetically pleasing structure on the site. Built in the 1890’s establishment phase of the Submarine Miner’s Depot, the two-storey late Victorian weatherboard building is elevated above the stone Mines Workshop (built at the same time) and commands sweeping views across the Harbour. It can be seen from a wide area of the waterway.

In the early 1890’s, this complex of buildings and structures was purpose-built for the Submarine Miners’ Corps, the unit responsible for laying and maintaining mines on underwater cables that spanned the harbour. The mines were to be detonated if an enemy ship entered the harbour. When the corps dissolved in 1922, the complex was used by the Royal Australian Engineers until 1939 when it then became the School of Military Engineering and later the Army Maritime School.