Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bradley's Head - Forts and Memorials

Memorial Mast of HMAS Sydney1
Bradley's Head at Mosman in Sydney NSW is a prominent headland on the northern side of Sydney Harbour between Taylors Bay and Athol Bay. Its history lies in the story of the fortification of Sydney Habour.

Today it is the proud site of an Australian naval monument, housing the Memorial Mast of HMAS Sydney 1 astride the original 1840 fort. This is the only naval monument in Australia requiring ceremonial honours to be rendered by all passing naval ships.

There are also memorials to the personnel of other Royal Australian Navy vessels including the four HMAS Sydney ships.

View with the memorial to the four HMAS Sydney
Ships in the foreground
It was in 1840 that the construction of forts began on Bradley's Head and Pinchgut (later Fort Dension) using convict labour, under the direction of Major George Barney, the First Colonial Engineer.

A sandstone wharf was also built at Bradley's Head in conjunction with the fort. It was used to transport supplies and equipment from Sydney Cove to the site.

View of the remains of the original 1840 fort
(site of the Memorial Mast ) and the 1854 fort to the left   

Sandstone Wharf circa 1840

Piece of crockery found embedded in the sandstone wharf

Other features at Bradley's Head are:

1)  a Doric column which originally stood at the GPO in George Street Sydney and was relocated to Bradley's Head in 1871 to mark one nautical mile from the centre of the Martello Tower at Fort Denison. It was used to provide accurate sea trial measurements.

Doric Column at Bradley's Head

Harbour view between Bradley's Head and Fort Denison

2) Bradleys Head Lighthouse.  Constructed in 1905 with electric beacon and foghorn, this timber and concrete lighthouse operates today as a navigational marker and warning light to ships entering and leaving the Harbour.

3) 1871 Fortifications. Construction began in 1870 on higher ground above the earlier emplacements as part of the general concerted effort to fortify the outer Harbour locations. The battery complex on Bradley's Head consisted of five circular gun placements interconnecting tunnels, trenches and galleries either cut from bedrock or built up by stone masonary.

1871 Gun placement. Markings on the gun barrel read
"Low Moor 10925  1861"
Main Firing Wall of the Bradley's Head Fortification complex

History Services NSW has records of convict assigned to Major Barney, viz:
  • William CHENERY per Recovery, arriving at Port Jackson on 25 February 1836. Recorded in 1837 as being "with Major Barney, Sydney, aged 30".
  • John REDDISH per Earl Grey arriving at Port Jackson on 21 November 1838. Recorded in 1984 as having "äbsconded from Major Barney's Boats Crew, Sydney since 3 February 1840"', and
  • James O'MARA per Heber arriving at Port Jackson on 12 July 1837. REcorded in 1837 as being ''with Major Barney,  Sydney, aged 26''.

If you are interested in researching convict history got to our website at :

All photos taken August 2012

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