At the start of World War II, Australia was unprepared for the conflict, especially in regards to supplies of petrol.
Attempts were made during the 1930s to increase storage, but motoring was such a new industry that no real progress was made towards keeping storage ahead of usage. As a result, at the start of the war, Australia had sufficient petrol for only three months of normal consumption.
During the war, petrol rationing led to the use of alternative fuel for cars and trucks. In the 1940s, professor Ernest Edgar Kurth designed gas producers for motor cars and patented a design for an improved charcoal kiln.
Gembrook was the ideal site for the Kurth Kiln as it fully met the criteria required for a successful operation such as water and timber availability. The sloping land allowed for wood to be easily loaded into the kiln.
Know Before You Go
The Kiln is located on Soldiers Rd., near Kurth Kiln track, Gembrook. The Kiln is a 65 kilometer drive east of Melbourne in the Kurth Kiln Regional Park. Soldiers Rd and Beenak Rd are gravel, but are accessible by car.
Turn off the Gembrook-Launching Place Rd onto Beenak Rd, then turn onto Soldiers Rd - distance is about 12 kilometers from Gembrook, Beenak Rd loops back on the Gembrook-Launching Place Rd at each end.
Conditions can change in the parks for many reasons. For the latest information on changes to local conditions, please visit the relevant park page on the Parks Victoria website.