Table of contents
|Monegeeta Proving Ground in WW2 article|
|For years, I've been coming across interesting images of CMPs and other vehicles with a distinctive pine tree background, and wondered where they were taken. This mystery has now been solved, thanks to Mike Cecil, Head of Military Heraldry and Technology, Australian War Memoria who has written this article especially for the Old CMP Site.|
|Monegeeta: The Australian Army’s Trials Facility|
|During the Second World War, the Master General of the Ordnance (MGO) Branch was responsible for the design, based on research and experimentation, of all ordnance stores. Within the MGO Branch, the Design Division was responsible for carrying out experiments and tests. To undertake this task efficiently, the Design Division established the Mechnisation Experimental Establishment (MEE), firstly at Seymour, Victoria, and a little later on rolling farmland at Monegeeta, near Sunbury, Victoria. By 1944, the name had changed from MEE to the Experimental and Testing Establishment (E&TE).|
|Ford FGT No8 (Aust) at Monegeeta. Note the 6 ton bridge plate.|
E&TE was organized into five sections responsible for various aspects of administration, experimentation and design. The Headquarters was responsible for administration, while Workshop was responsible for modifications to items under test, general maintenance, and the design of test rigs, among other duties. Vehicle Testing Section carried out tests and development work on all tracked and wheeled vehicles, while Equipment Section dealt with all aspects of items such as pumps, small boats, engines and modifications to equipment to allow carriage by air. This section was also responsible for the development and testing of flamethrower equipment and fuels. Signals, Electrical and Radar Section dealt with all aspects of these types of equipment, including tropic proofing and the development of special test equipment.
|Ford F15A ARN 132081.|
The authorized wartime staff of E&TE was 329 people, consisting of 22 officers and 307 other ranks. Many were specialist tradesmen, such as instrument mechanics, fitters, panel beaters, welders, textile fitters and riggers. Even a coppersmith was included on the specialist staff.
|Static testing took place in purpose built sheds within the main compound, while mobile testing of vehicles was carried out on purpose built test tracks within the Monegeeta complex or on road circuits within the local district. The test circuits outside the Monegeeta complex were designed to include variations in road surface, such as gravel, macadam, or dirt. Specific test areas were also established off site.|
Beach and dune trials were conducted near the coastal town of Barwon Heads, while trials involving mud flat and coastal brush conditions were undertaken at Lang Lang, on the east coast of Western Port Bay. Trials in simulated jungle conditions were conducted in State Forest only 11 kilometres from E&TE, between Woodend and Lancefield, while Puckapunyal Military Training area provided dusty conditions. Wading trials for AFVs were undertaken in the Goulburn River near Seymour, not far from Puckapunyal.
|Carrier 3291 involved in the Kapok floatation trials on the Golburn River.|
|Article continued on page 2|