Many of the eyewitnesses spoke of a Tennis Court and that has always been recognised as being down by the Southern Battery shown on page 25 and this appears to have been used as such prior to WW2.
However, as per the Saluting Battery that changed position three times over the years, according to the photos so did the Tennis Court! This is very important to know where this Tennis Court was at the time of each eyewitness account as if we don’t know, we look for evidence of these eyewitness observations in the wrong areas. At the time of writing the article on pages 24 to 26, I had not realised that there was more than one Tennis Court and I only discovered this over the time since by stumbling over them while perusing the photos.
This first photo on the left, I noticed what looked like a possibility of a Tennis Court and so I looked further:
In this next photo on the right, taken on the same day from a different angle you can see the net across the middle of the Court.
This 1954 photo on the right, shows that this Tennis Court is gone, which shows that Joan Dighton/Robinson could not have been talking of this one as it didn’t exist over the time her family lived on North Head 1953 to 1962... But this one did: (1960/61)
This begs the question as to which Tennis Court was Joan (and the other witnesses) referring to? This of course means that we just can’t take it for granted that we know where the eyewitnesses mean when they talk of tunnels. The problem is understanding where they mean which means matching up the era they were there with the corresponding photographic evidence. The problem being with this one is that it could be either the 1960/61 or the much earlier one down on the eastern side (constructed about 1914 to 1918) as that one still exists, although probably not used as such for many years. As we have already covered the “Tennis Court” down on the eastern side in previous pages, we will now have to go through the whole thing again using the position of this 1960/61 Tennis Court. Joan said, “A smaller entrance which went into the bank was right on the north east corner of the tennis court”, and if you have a close look at this tennis court, there is indeed a bank and although we haven’t properly covered this area in my articles yet, this area was known to have lots of possible entrances. In this 1960/61 photo, I show in green a possible entrance although Joan could have been referring to the existing entrance that goes into what is a remaining small room, that is still there today and known as the “Telephone Exchange”- where some witnesses said the keys for the locked tunnels were kept. This room may well have originally had another entrance heading off from it and has since been covered in like so many others apparently have.
In the case of another witness, James Blackburn, 1958 with several postings there up until 1970, he places the tennis court as “adjacent to the Saluting Base” which defines his observation point as the lower eastern tennis court as the Saluting Base was by that time down on the Southern Battery where it still is today. There are others also that associate the Tennis Court with the Saluting Base. To properly understand the possibility of the ‘green’ entrance in the above 1960/61 photo, we need to step back a little in time to the 29-4-42 photo also shown above) and relate it to the statement of Stuart Brydon (postings 1953 and 1958):
“An old disused gun pit in the Navy Compound at the summit had a steep entrance off it which connected up with the levels below.”
NH Page 35