Sunday History Photo / WA

Submitted: Sunday, Mar 28, 2010 at 02:31
ThreadID: 77247 Views:3701 Replies:3 FollowUps:2
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In 1791 Captain George Vancouver claimed the southern part of Western Australia for the British Crown. As he explored along the coast, he discovered one of the world's finest natural harbours and named it the Princess Royal Harbour and King George III Sound after King George III.

During the 19th century, the loss of this strategic port to any enemy naval squadron was recongised as a potential threat to the security of Australia. Consequently, as the first example of federation prior to federation all the Australian states agreed to proportionally pay for the construction of a fort with the Imperial British Government supplying the guns. The Fort was opened in 1893, the first federal defence of Australia - and today called the Princess Royal Fortress.
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The Princess Royal Fortress is not a grand fort of battlements, towers and stone, for this was the age of protection by concealment. With two gun batteries dug into the hillside of Mt Adelaide - Fort Princess Royal (2 x 6” guns) and Fort Plantagenet (1 x 6” gun). The Albany Barracks housed a small permanent garrison to man the guns.
From 1893 to 1956 the guns of King George III Sound maintained their role as a deterrent never firing a shot in anger. It was neither age nor enemy which silenced the guns of the Sound but rather the advent of the missile era.
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In 1956, throughout the Commonwealth, coastal defences like the Princess Royal Fortress were closed, dismantled and generally destroyed. The buildings were used as schoolrooms, migrant hostels and a holiday camp before becoming vacant and succumbing to vandalism.
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It now houses a number of major museum display areas. The Guns of the Sound
The original guns installed were 6” BL en-Barbette with garrison carriages and sliding platform recoil on revolving rings.
These guns had an effective range of 5.25 miles (8.4km).
In 1938 these guns were replaced by 6” MK V QF(C) guns from South Head - Sydney, and the effective range increased to 8-10 miles ( 12.8-16km).
1945 saw the last guns installed - 6” MK VII from Leighton - Perth (ex Arthur Head, Fremantle).
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If your down Albany way this place is worth a visit.

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Reply By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Sunday, Mar 28, 2010 at 04:11

Sunday, Mar 28, 2010 at 04:11
Hi Doug, just came back from Albany today. Good story.

Cheers

Deanna


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Reply By: On Patrol & TONI - Sunday, Mar 28, 2010 at 10:35

Sunday, Mar 28, 2010 at 10:35
Hi Doug
I found a few more pix of that location.

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Cheers Colin.
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Follow Up By: Member - Doug T (NT) - Sunday, Mar 28, 2010 at 10:42

Sunday, Mar 28, 2010 at 10:42
Colin
Thanks for the photo's, I didn't realise the AWAS had a camp there, I'll have to do some research too. you'll be doing me out of a job,

CHECK LINK

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Follow Up By: On Patrol & TONI - Sunday, Mar 28, 2010 at 13:49

Sunday, Mar 28, 2010 at 13:49
"you'll be doing me out of a job"

Not much chance of that Doug, keep up the good work mate.
Cheers, Colin.
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Reply By: Member - joc45 (WA) - Sunday, Mar 28, 2010 at 12:08

Sunday, Mar 28, 2010 at 12:08
Everyone who visits the fortifications gets to see the guns and underground magazine near the top of the hill. Unfortunately, access to the magazine is blocked off, but much further down the hill, below the road, just above the walk path, near the Ataturk memorial, is another 6" gun, mostly complete. This isn't signposted or advertised. A path from the gun leading uphill to a large rock outcrop takes one to an underground magazine similar to the one at the museum. This is accessible by day (gates locked at night), and a ladder takes one down to the main shell magazine. Another ladder takes one down to a tunnel which surrounds the magazine, used for servicing kerosine lamps in the walls of the magazine (before the days of electric light). Another short tunnel was apparently the cordite store. The magazine serviced the 6" gun, and two other small gun emplacements further down the hill. The lower magazine and 6" gun is of the same vintage as the one up the hill.
Various concrete observation posts are in the vicinity. Well worth a visit.
Gerry
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