|Don't come in ... unless you have to|
But to begin at the beginning. More reading had revealed that there had been guns atop the point now housing the Massey Memorial. Having been there already I didn't recall seeing any such structures. So I returned this weekend and remembered being confronted by this very funny sign, above, which, while very officiously warning me to keep out, very politely offers me a stile for easy access.
The sign does say that those on "business" can enter. It doesn't say what kind of business (I thought blogging is a business to some) and it was early on a quiet Sunday morning. So I decided to have a look. Soon I found myself scrambling up steep and muddy terrain. Then, Escape from Colditz-like, I heard voices and dogs and crouched behind a bush, as one does, thinking darl and tremulous thoughts. It was not, in fact, an armed patrol as I had feared. Rather it was three chaps taking their dogs out for a walk. So I continued my scramble feeling much less adventurous.
And eventually came across the sought-after battery.
|Another view to a kill.|
|There was, thankfully, the obligatory graffiti.|
|Why not just put a mausoleum on top of a gun?|
According to an actual historical website I've found, "in 1925 Prime Minister William Massey died in office and it was decided to create a memorial on the site of the Halswell battery. The gunpit was lined with marble and above ground a three-sided pyramid was built over the gunpit... The 8" gun was later found at the foot fo the hill when the coastal road was widened ... On the outside there is little to indicate that a gun emplacement lies beneath. And yet below ground the battery is structurally intact although stripped of its equipment."
I have loved these little impromptu tours of Wellington's history. (Who knew, for instance, that the previously unknown-to-me Fort Ballance was built during the Second Russian Scare of 1885). It seems, though, that I have some more work to do until I uncover all of the wonderful old batteries around town.
To recap, so far I have visited, photographed and blogged about: Ft. Dorset, the guns of Somes Island, Ft. Opau, Pol Hill, the magnificent Wrights Hill, Palmer Heads, and Seatoun. So, with Mt. Crawford and Halswell Battery added, I've made a dent, but there are a few more to go and I'm running out of time.