Georges Head Military Fortifications
Georges Heights and in particular the Officer's mess precinct is culturally signficant for the important role it played in the strategic defence of Sydney. This commenced with the initial fortification phase in 1871(-1884) and extended through the submarine mine defence phase (1884-1922), the federation of Australian States and thus it became part of the wider coastal network of defences.
The site is part of the network of fortifications that were established to protect Sydney Harbour from attack. Alterations to the A84 Battery show the continual evolution and development of defensive systems and the application of the most modern technology and building techniques.
The buildings in the precinct illustrate the evolution of defence accomodation from the 1871 Barracks (later the Officer's Mess) to 1892 Married Quarters (now Gunshot Alley) to the 1954 separate individual rooms (Officers' Mess Accomodation).
The buildings have been associated with key people in NSW history particularly;
- colonial architect James Barnet who was one of Australia's greatest architects and designed the original Barracks (now Officers' Mess); and
- FR de Wolski, Engineer-in-Chief of Defence Works around 1890 and who contributed to the establishment of Gunshot Alley.
The site has remained in government and military ownership from the earliest British settlement and thus provides strong research potential in its structures and surface cultural deposits to demonstrate past ways of military life. The construction of fortifications on the site followed the departure of British Imperial forces in 1870 and is evidence of the British Government's resolve that colonies with responsible government should bear the cost of their own defence.
George's Head has outstanding aesthetic values as a prominent headland. The site is valued by the local community and Defence personnel for its role as a vantage point and as a gateway to the harbour. It is also a rare remnant of fragile natural environment, and is also valued for its historical uses.
George's Head is part of the Middle Head and George's Heights defence site listed on the Register of the National Estate, and contains three separate independent listings, the A84 Battery, Battery C9A and the 1873 Officers' Mess building.
(Eric Martin & Associates, 2003)
Source:NSW Heritage Branch
Chowder Bay Roads, Georges Heights, NSW