Murtoa Stick Shed – Murtoa, Australia - Atlas Obscura

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Murtoa Stick Shed

Murtoa, Australia

Though it may look like a Modernist cathedral, this structure was built to store massive quantities of grain during World War II. 

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This location once acted as one of the many emergency grain stores constructed in the region during World War II. Though it is now known as the Stick Shed, the grain storage facility was previously known as Murtoa No. 1 Grain Store.

With the onset of World War II leading to trade restrictions, in the late 1930s and early 1940s, Australia had a lot of grain and nowhere to put it. The grain glut prompted the Australian Wheat Board to design and build a series of bulk storage facilities. When it was completed in 1942, this structure was the first emergency wheat storage shed in Victoria. Today, it is the only remaining example of its kind in Australia.

These structures once spanned the state and served as an essential source of ingredients for food. Locals tell stories of playing in such stores as children, however fewer fun stories about regular issues with mouse and bug infestations.

The Stick Shed measures 265 meters (869 feet) long, 60 meters (197 feet) wide, and nearly 20 meters (65 feet) high at its tallest point. The inside of the structure covers approximately 16,000 square meters (17,200 square feet). Because steel was in high demand when these grain sheds were built, it is made largely from timber: 56 rows of mountain ash poles buried in the ground, with concrete poured around the footings to help stabilize the poles.

Visitors are treated to a dramatically expansive interior, which feels more like a cathedral than an industrial store, with light beams spilling in through small holes in the wall. 

Know Before You Go

The Stick Shed is open to visitors from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is a small entrance fee and an attached museum that provides further information on the history of the stick shed.

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March 7, 2022

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