Monday, August 11, 2008

Crows Nest Position

I was looking for traces of the Crow's Nest battery, a single HP position about 2000 metres west of Fort Queenscliff proper.

Sites # and #2.Walking west from Crows Nest Place, you come across two sites that are virtually next to each other, being something like 20 or so metres apart. To me they looked like the shattered remnants of either QF or Searchlight positions, having a rounded, open front and a small room off to one side. Both were of reinforced concrete and red-brick construction with substantial remnant iron and wood fittings. Site #1 has a complete chamber still standing which features a wooden doorframe that is pretty well intact. Both are smashed into slabs and chunks of concrete.

You can see the still extant wood door frame here.

Below is a shot of the interior of Site #1

Site #3 is a few red-brick and glazed terracotta pipe fragments. I noted this site as being of interest because of the use of terracotta pipe for drainage and communications purposes at other sites. It could just as easily be builders rubble though from nearby housing construction, though.

Site #4 is a seeming sub-surface structure across from number 4 The Esplanade. It is a concrete oblong, some three metres by about five, aligned so it's long axis parallels the coastline. It's about 60 cm high. Part of it has been sealed with a heavy treated pine plank to bar access to the interior. I noted many small concrete fragments all the way back to the eastern end of The Esplanade.
Blocked opening, rear of structure

Short edge of the concrete structure View up The Esplanade

Site #5 is across the road from number 10 The Esplanade. I noted some small patches of African Thorn Bush which members of the AustColWar Yahoo group have identified as a defensive feature at both the Fort Nepean and Fort Queenscliff sites. There are fair quantities of shattered concrete which are unidentifiable, but do contain substantial quantities of basalt chips. This site also has a concrete structure that appears to have a subterranean element that I did not think safe to investigate. The site is a large sandhill over 3 metres in hieght, and heavily overgrown with ti-tree scrub. The hill falls away quite sharply on it's south side with small amounts of rubble visible.

African Thorn Bush
Top of Slab
Slab Edge
Under the slab, looking left Under the slab, looking right

Site #6 is past the far west end of The Esplanade, behind a facility for underprivileged children. As with Site #5, there is some African Thorn Bush in evidence, substantial mounts of unidentifiable concrete and that could possibly be interpreted as a concrete apron or glacis.

In my opinion, Sites #4-6 are especially worth investigation. Sites 1 and 2 are probably post-Federation, but the form of their construction is not like the slab-sided ww2-era buildings that may be seen at Point Nepean, but rather more like the structures at Fort Nepean proper which mounted the various QF guns. I have not yet seen anything like them mentioned in my reading and a further literature search will be needed. If I had to make a guess, I would think they were from the 1890-1914 period.

More images as I Photoshop them into submission!


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