617. Sunday 5th January 2019. Art Gallery, Cape Banks, Cemetry and Bare Island…

Today was a busy photograph day.

Sunday 5th January

Today we went to the Hazelhurst Regional Art Gallery

050120 hazelhurst4
Around Cronulla Beach in the early 60’s.

https://www.sutherlandshire.nsw.gov.au/Community/Hazelhurst/ to see the Southern Swell Exhibition of Surfing over the last 60 years, particularly in the Sutherland Shire.

050120 hazelhurst5
A range of surfboards spanning the last 60 years.

I.E. Cronulla Beach. I was expecting a small gallery with a small gift shop.

050120 hazelhurst3
The Holden Sandman. A popular van made especially for surfers.

Instead I found a large busy gallery with an absolutely huge coffee shop chock a block with customers and a small gift shop.

050120 hazelhurst2
Quirky bits of artistic presentation around the coffee shop.

I was greatly impressed.

050120 hazelhurst1
Dried fern fronds, sprayed with pastel colours made an interesting display in the coffee shop.

Just to go there for a coffee was a treat.

050120 hazelhurst
Even to serving window ws tricked up.

Gymea is well supplied with coffee shops in the main shopping centre but the gallery coffee shop tops them all. http://www.hazelhurstcafe.com/new-page

050120 family
Enid Sandra Bev and Pete.

Back at Bev’s place Sandi finished packing so Enid and I drove her to the airport. After dropping her at the front doors we headed out to LaPerouse to see what we could see.

There was a howling southerly wind blowing today which made our walk at Cape Banks National Park a little challenging.050120 cape banks3 The wind is blowing the smoke from the horrible bush fires on the south coast. The smoke haze is combining with the salt haze from the strong north easterlies which have been blowing for the last six days. Within the park is050120 cemetry The Coast Hospital Cemetery. http://postcardsydney.com/coast-hospital-cemetery/ More than 2,500 people were buried here, many of the graves are overgrown and are left that way to protect them. 050120 cemetry1Les than 100 graves are visible. I found one grave of a Captain who died at sea aged 39 and was buried here in 1860. His wife Janet who lived for another 42 years is also interred with him.050120 cemetry2

Further along the walking track we came across the ruins of Fort Banks https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Banks_(Australia) built during WWII to help protect our coastline from invaders.

050120 fort banks
Fort Banks

The ruins here are exactly that – ruins. 050120 fort banks4Much of the buildings are locked up but no information exists.050120 fort banks2

050120 fort banks1
This is curious. These sandstone blocks were used to build a retaining wall. Many of these blocks look to be headstones or part of a grave from the nearby cemetry.

050120 fort banks3

Cape Banks is located on a wild and wooly wave lashed steep cliff faces of naturally sculpted sandstone.050120 cape banks2 The wind was strong enough to blow me away from the cliff edge- which was probably a good thing. 050120 cape banks050120 cape banks1The entrance to Botany Bay can be seen as well as the southern entrance called Cape Solander.

050120 cape solander
Cape Solander. The southern entrance to Botany Bay. Note the salt/smoke haze.

We drove to LaPerouse, found a parking spot (miraculous) and walked across the bridge to Bare Island.050120 bare island The island was an armed fortress designed to protect the entrance to Botany Bay against invaders from the sea.050120 bare island1 050120 bare island2050120 bare island3We planned to walk around the rocks at the base of the fortress. While standing at the gate a Park Ranger let a group of people out from the fort. He announced he would be conducting the last tour of the week in five minutes. 050120 bare island4We were in the right place at the right moment to have a guided tour through this old fort. 050120 bare island6I recall that, as a teenager, I had walked to Bare Island and in those days it was not locked. 050120 bare island5We could walk onto the island and roam around. That is no longer the case. National Parks has control of who goes on the island. 050120 bare island7The fort was built in 1885 to counter a perceived threat from the sea by Russia or France or even Pirates! 050120 bare island11The five cannons were never fired in anger and by 1912 the fort and the cannons was decommissioned and used as a War Veterans Home until 1962.

050120 bare island8
That little glow in te top centre of the photo is the sun. The salt/smoke haze was enough to almost obscure it.

Three of the 5 cannons were sold as scrap metal. The remaining two cannons were too heavy to lift off their pedestals and move across the bridge. 050120 bare island10Getting those cannon onto the the fort in 1885 must have been a logistical miracle. At that time there was no bridge so everything, including the cannons had to be brought in by barge or rowboat. Imagine how an 18 ton cannon was lifted ashore, up the steep hillside and lowered into position in a firing pit and lined up correctly really plays with the imagination. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bare_Island_(New_South_Wales)

It is difficult to imagine what life was like for the 60 soldiers who manned the fort. We noticed that some National Parks Rangers live in the lower barracks on the island.050120 bare island9

Each firing pit had alcoves built into the walls for each of the cannon crew to take shelter in the event that an enemy was firing at them. That said, from the sea, the fortress was designed to look like a grassy island and no structure, apart from an observation deck, was visible from the sea. The walls can only be seen from the land or inside Botany Bay.050120 bare island13050120 bare island14

Much of the fort is carved from solid sandstone, the buildings are made with dressed sandstone blocks while some parts have been made with an early version of concrete.050120 bare island12

While the design of the fort was brilliant, much of the work, carried out by a civilian contractor was below standard and had to be re-done.

Each firing pit had markings along the wall to show the height above sea level. These markings were used to make adjustments to cannon elevation.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s