Cordite Milling Section - Additive Store :
These unusual buildings proved a considerable problem for identification, chiefly because of their contradictory
lighting systems. All buildings dealing with explosives and inflammables have safety lighting, whilst all buildings
dealing with explosives also have gritless acid-resistant asphalt floors. This building shares with the
Press Houses and Incorporation Houses a strange division within it. The
Press and Incorporation Houses deliberately split the passages containing electrical motors from their process rooms.
Unfortunately, there seemed no sign of a shaft-drive through the dividing wall of this third building, of which only
three examples survive upon site.
For reasons examined below, it was decided that this structure had been used to store and to prepare the smaller
volume of minor ingredients or additives needed to Incorporate or convert Modified Ballistite Cordite Paste into Cordite
Dough for the Press and Paste Rolling Houses.
Archaeological Features of the Presumed Additive Stores :
The building is a unique design, having different roof levels either side of a central wall. The chambers are
broadly the same area, but differ markedly.
The lower roof chamber has three special features. :-
- Two externally-accessed safety lights above and to the side of the doorways, as found in site process and storage
buildings for inflammable and explosive substances.
- An I-beam (Rolled Steel Joist, RSJ) above the centreline of the two doors, which face one another. This could be for
a simple hoist, for moving sacks, drums or crates, from one door to the other.
- A floor of acid-resistant gritless asphalt.
The higher roof chamber has three contrasting features. :-
- There are remains of a conventional filament light system.
- The doors are slightly offset.
- The floor is of closely-laid brick, with in one corner a slightly-raised brick platform for some piece of equipment.
Externally, there is a platform for unloading goods from a Narrow Gauge bogie railway on one side of the building,
whilst on the other there is an asphalt-covered concrete trackway that runs across the Press Room Narrow Gauge bogie
spur and towards the Incorporation House. This indicates that material prepared in this 'Additive Store' was involved in
the processes in one or both of these Cordite Milling houses.
Interpreting the Function and Processes of the Additives Store :
From Australian War Memorial pictures of ICI Deer Park (Melbourne) it was evident that additional Acetone may have
been added to the Modified Ballistite Paste in the Incorporators that mixed the Cordite Dough. At some stage, it was
also necessary to add Vaseline to the mixture, and Wayne Cocroft's work on Chilworth Powder Works showed that Jelly
Melting Houses were used to prepare the Vaseline before mixing. The corollary was that somewhere before or during
Paste Incorporation, these two additives needed to be held and prepared for use. There was the third possibility
that a small quantity of Picrite would be added to the Paste, with Incorporation again being the most likely point
in the process.
The low roofed chamber was likely for these reasons to have been used for unpacking cases of Picrite or holding
cans of Acetone for store and forwarding to the nearest Incorporation House. In the circumstances Picrite seems the
likeliest material, as cases could have needed a hoist to move them and cans would not. The high-roofed chamber
may have held a steam-heated tank into which Vaseline drums could be emptied, the jelly turned to a liquid that could
have been poured into the Baker-Perkins Incorporators.
Although these interpretations cannot be regarded as complete, the writer feels that 'Additive Store' is the most
reasonable assessment of the evidence.