PALMER HEADS FORTRESS AREA
- ARTICLE -
Coastal battery on the Hills above Strathmore,
The Palmer Heads fortress area was located on the hill top above the suburb of Strathmore in Wellington, New Zealand.
June of 1934 the site got approval by the War Office as a location
for a two gun battery using 6" Mk XXI guns. The preliminary
site work was started in January of 1935. The contract for
the emplacements was given to M.G. Templeton and Sons on the 23rd
of March 1936.
1941 the battery had two name changes. The first was on 30th
June to the 73rd Heavy Battery and then on the 31st August it was
changed to the 70th Heavy Battery.
the 27th March 1944 the battery was put into Care and Maintenance.
One of the radar stations -C8 remained operational in a early
warning capacity. Due to the surrender of Japan as at 0800hrs
on the 6th September 1945 the 10Th Coast Regiment ceased to be operational.
All of the regiment's still active units were put into care and
maintenance. Search lights 15 and 16 along with the No.2 engine
room were dismantled and sent to the Gracefield Stores on the 11th
October 1945 while the remaining two searchlights and No.1 engine
room were put into care and maintenance. Radar station C8
was put into care and maintenance at 0600hrs on the 31st October
1945. All ammunition except 30 minutes worth and three years
practice worth was sent across to the Belmont Magazine area.
saw the officers mess being shifted down to Fort Dorset in the nearby
suburb of Seatoun In 1957 the Government deemed that the coastal
defences built during World War 2 were no longer needed and so In
the 1960's all the coastal batteries were stripped and some demolished.
only remains of the structures that formed the Palmer heads battery
are the underground plotting rooms which are closed off for safety
reasons (I have been able to obtain access into them and photograph
inside them), part of the parade ground, The concrete shell of the
radar station above Moa Point and part of the original sealed access
road. I have been told that the underground magazine
for the third gun still remains although I have been unable to find
any sign of it (Although I may try again). The ridge line
is Airways Corporation land and has beacons and other stuff relating
to aircraft navigation and the airport. The nearby Palmer
Heads subdivision is creeping toward the battery site and has already
been built over part of the original access road that runs up from
the coast below.
* Palmer Heads Fort Record Book
* Palmer head layout of Guns, services etc. plan
* Official War History of the Public Works Dept
* Site visits 30/7/1995, 19/10/1998, 23/11/1998
© copyright Darcy Waters 1999-2003