Harbour Trust volunteers support our vision in a diverse range of roles, from welcoming visitors in our visitor centres, guiding tours, gardening, restoration, environmental care, community speaking, oral history interviews, administrative support, maintenance and historical research. They enable us to not only deliver huge benefits to the community but also carry out capital works – such as restorations to heritage buildings and machinery – that amplify the rich stories of the extraordinary places we protect. They bring different interests, skillsets and perspectives to the Harbour Trust, but they are united in their passionate advocacy for our destinations.
Read up on some of their recent successes, including the ways in which they are helping us preserve and promote the heritage values of our heritage places on Sydney Harbour.
Battery Observation Post at North Head Sanctuary, Manly
Our Harbour Trust Volunteers have been working on restoring the Battery Observation Post at North Head Sanctuary in Manly. Led by Director of Projects, Libby Bennett and Volunteer Supervisor David McBeath, this project enables the Harbour Trust to further interpret and activate North Fort – a remnant military complex, crucial to the defence of Sydney during the Second World War. Volunteer contributions to this project have included the reconstruction of metal doors and window frames, painting and restoring and reproducing equipment.
The Observation Post is associated with North Fort’s Plotting Room, an underground wartime bunker once shrouded in secrecy. The Plotting Room was vital to Sydney’s coastal defences during World War II, receiving enemy craft intel from – and sending it to – artillery batteries located along the coast from Port Stephens to Port Kembla, collectively known as Fortress Sydney.
Target course and speed was sent via telephone from observation posts to the Fortress Plotting Room and then onto the Battery Plotting Room, which relayed coordinates to North Fort’s guns. Due to the highly classified nature of those who operated the Plotting Room, their exploits were not revealed to the general public. In fact, to maintain the veil of secrecy around the underground facility, the Army prohibited photography. Learn more about the secret military history of the Plotting Room by viewing our free online exhibition here.