Georges Head Military Fortifications | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Georges Head Military Fortifications

Item details

Name of item: Georges Head Military Fortifications
Type of item: Complex / Group
Group/Collection: Defence
Category: Fortification
Location: Lat: -33.8362449953 Long: 151.2607767300
Primary address: Chowder Bay Roads, Georges Heights, NSW 2088
Local govt. area: Mosman
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT1 DP604478
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Chowder Bay RoadsGeorges HeightsMosman  Primary Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Office of Environment and HeritageState Government26 Nov 98

Statement of significance:

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)
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
7. Governing-Governing Defence-Activities associated with defending places from hostile takeover and occupation Observing and looking out for enemy movements-
7. Governing-Governing Defence-Activities associated with defending places from hostile takeover and occupation Involvement with the Second World War-

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0098702 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     
Local Environmental Plan  23 Feb 01   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
National Parks & Wildlife Service Section 170 Register  National Parks & Wildlife Service  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenArchaeological & Heritage Management Solutions2000Sydney Harbour National Park Georges Head Fortifications Archaeological Investigations at the Beehive Casemate (GH1)
WrittenEric Martin & Associates2003Conservation Management Plan Georges Heights Officers Mess Precinct
WrittenSydney Harbour Federation Trust2002Draft Plan Sydney Harbour Federation Trust

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5014090
File number: 10/03718; H98/00237

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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