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Many eye witnesses spoke of an entrance around where the Public Toilets now are. This entrance evidently led into a large underground generator room.

Ian William Reid (1969)

One entrance was behind where the public toilets have been built, is in the vicinity of the road leading to the big gun. From this entrance the tunnel went down and came to a large engine room. Another tunnel headed towards the big Gun, I eventually climbed up a shaft which came out close to the gun pit. Not long afterwards I saw Park Board staff blocking off the entrance behind the toilets with concrete blocks.

Allan Reginald Doughty (1954-62)

Directly behind Shepherd's Cottage which is now public toilets. Went fair way in and downwards.

Ralph Cooper (early 60's)

As a member of 12th heavy AA and first locating battery I specialised in radar, I was also responsible for maintenance on six portable 17 KVA lister diesel generators. I spent a lot of unpaid spare time maintaining these generators. One day in the early 1060’s Sgt Bill Scott asked me if would look at a diesel generator at North Head that was leaking oil.  He took me to an underground generating room, we went in through a locked tunnel on the south west side of the hill. About 15 feet on the right in the tunnel was the room. It was not a large room but big enough to hold 2 17 KVA 3 cylinder lister generators painted green and one large diesel generator painted grey (it might have been a cummins) can’t remember. The floor was painted rust red colour, the walls grey it was like an operating theatre, (this was not the large generator room closer to the city side which is still there. The tunnel went on behind the generator room, this again was locked, I could see partly into another room through what I would call an air vent 30” x 12” (approx) hole in the concrete, I could see what looked like boxes. I asked Bill what was in there, he said he did not know, he had a bunch of keys, I said lets see if we can unlock the gate. He hustled me out and told me not to talk to anyone about the generators or area. I think he said it was back up for the main generator room. To this day I still feel I was not told the truth. The generators were 240v AC capable of a fair amount of power, 9th coast were connected to the navy, was it their installation.  4 or 5 years ago I went back to North Head to find that generator room, its no longer there. The longer I stood in front of the public toilets I was sure I had found the entrance but who can be sure after 34 years, one thing I am sure of it once did exist 34 years ago.

George Stanley Furnell 1950-55

Large diesel electric generators, which supplied A.C. power, had enough capacity to provide for the whole of Devonport and in the same generator room D.C. power was provided for the searchlights. In the floor of the generator room there was a deep shaft and one which went up a very long way, this was the exhaust.

This last report I have included also as it is quite obvious that it is talking of the same Generator Room. It can’t be of the known existing Generator Room as it speaks of an exhaust vent that went up a “very long way”. This suggests a Generator Room well below ground.

It appears the building that once was situated in this area - not a lot is known about it apart from going by the photographs it was built probably in late 1900 or 1901. It evidently was originally known as “The Laboratory” and was used for filling the gun cartridges. Later on it was known as the “Shepherd’s Cottage”, obviously where the Shepherd lived that looked after the many sheep on the hill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NH Page 51

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