The demands for naval operations during the Pacific War (World War II)led to the construction of five fuel tanks (two plate steel constructed tanks intended to hold dieseline and three reinforced concrete tanks intended to hold crude oil). The fuel tanks were constructed for the Royal Australian Navy in 1943, and carefully camouflaged under the rainforest shroud of Mount Whitfield to protect them from enemy eyes. Tanks 3-5 held crude type furnace oil and pumped it through an underground, gravity fed pipeline to a fuelling jetty in Trinity Inlet. The Australian and visiting American and British ships used these tanks right up until their decommissioning in 1987.
In 1991, Cairns City Council purchased all five tanks and in 1995, tanks 3-5 were refurbished into a multipurpose arts facility called the Tanks Arts Centre.