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Spectacle Island Buildings

This list has been compiled from a number of secondary sources, comprising:

Spectacle Island about 1900

Spectacle Island Magazine c. 1900-1920. Image courtesy of the Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW - Call number: PXA 635/837

Each of these sources contains apparent inconsistencies and hence this list should not be regarded as authoritative. There are certainly other buildings that were constructed and later demolished.

The list numbering is based on the current Asset Register for the Island. Most buildings are marked with these numbers. The names assigned to the numbers represent the earliest use of the building. Most have had multiple uses over the years.

Plan of Spectacle Island in 2009

Plan of Spectacle Island circa 2009

1863-65 (Original Powder Magazine)

001 Storekeeper's Residence
003 Guard room and barrack
004 Latrine block
006 Cooperage
007 Laboratory
009 Powder magazine
009A Covered way
021 Labourer's quarters
na Original wharf (demolished)

1872

na Labourer's cottages (2) (demolished)

Before 1877

040 Privies

1877

044 Laboratory
na Labourer's cottages (2) (demolished)

Plan of Spectacle island in 1881

Before 1884

034 Forge
053 Front wharf

1884

010 Shell store
012 Gun carriage shed
026 Armourer's workshop
029 Guncotton and torpedo (mine) store

1886

028 Torpedo cable tanks

1891

011 Gun mounting shed
025 Return store
041 Quick-firing ammunition store
048 Laboratory
051 Detonator store
na Flagstaff

1893

046 Dry guncotton store

Before 1894

052 Back wharf

1894

050 Latrine

Plan of Spectacle Island 1894

Before 1895

008 Cooperage

1896

na Bathing place

Before 1898

047 Filled shell store

1898

014 Boat shed and slipway

1899

036 Filled shell magazine
037 Filled shell magazine

Around 1902

015 Testing Room
024 Wash house

1902

042 Quick-firing ammunition store

1914

005 Cordite test house
na Silver test room (demolished)
032 Doubtful explosives magazine

1915

019 Mess
033 Substation/transformer house
038 Changing room
049 Shell filling and emptying room

1918

022 Salt water fire pump housing

1920s

017 Painting and scraping store

1920

027 Not known (demolished)
030 Depth charge store

1921

013 Plan storage

1922

023 Police lodge

1943

054 Observation post

1939-45

031 Canteen

1942

035 Emergency diesel generator set

Before 1945

039 Empty package store

1945

002 Magazine office (demolished)

Buildings in Use - 1924

In 1924 there were some 75 buildings or structures on the Island. These are listed below, together with their uses. Unfortunately, the building numbering does not correspond with the current Assets Register.

On the evidence of this list, by 1924 most of the mass-detonating explosives had been transferred to the new sub-depot at Newington. Also, the Shell filling and emptying room built in 1915, no longer appears as such. This suggests that shell filling (with modern cast fillings) was no longer being carried out.

Explosives Storehouses/Magazines

11 Cordite magazine no. 1
42 Small arms ammunition store
43 Miscellaneous magazine stores (Commonwealth)
44 Miscellaneous magazine stores (Commonwealth)
45 Pyrotechnic store
46 Isolation magazine
51 Cordite magazine no. 2
56 Fuze store
57 Tube store
58 Detonator store
59 Miscellaneous magazine stores (Imperial)

Laboratories, etc

3 Cordite Heat Test House (005)
4 Cordite silvered vessel test house
6 Packing room for miscellaneous magazine stores
12 Packing room for pyrotechnic stores
28 Test and proof house
44 Painting and scraping room
47 Proof house for DA fuzes
55 Packing room for fuzes, tubes and small arms ammunition
60 Laboratory tool house
61 Laboratory

Ordnance and Gunwharf Stores

9 Ordnance store - Imperial (ground floor)
10 Ordnance store - Commmonwealth (top floor)
16 Ordnance store - Commonwealth (top floor)
17 Gun pound
18 Gun pound
23 Gun pound
29 Gun fitting and boxed rifle store
54 Gun pound

Miscellaneous Storehouses

5 Dockyard and miscellaneous store
7 Produce store (Commonwealth)
8 Produce store (Imperial)
13 Bulk paint and oil store (Commonwealth)
14 Bulk paint and oil store (Imperial)
15 Empty shell store (ground floor)
39 Return store
41 Undergrouund cable tanks (empty)(028)
48 Empty package store (with overhead platforms)
50 Empty metal case and cartridge case store (3 bays)
53 Surveyed items shed
62 Articles in use store
63 Articles in use store
65 Benzene store
66 Kerosene store
68 Wood stack
69 Lime store
70 Depot cleaning tool shed

Amenities and Offices

2 Main office
24 Seamen's quarters (3 rooms)
25 Room for drawings
26 Storehouseman's office
31 Storehousemen's Messroom
32 Workmen's messroom
34 Assistant Inspector of Naval Ordnance office
35 Clerk's office
36 Examiner's room
37 Foreman of Stores office
40 Police lodge
49 Shifting rooms
52 Bathing shed
71 WC no. 1 (seamen, Police and Storehousmen
72 WC no. 2 (workmen)
73 WC no. 3 (workmen)
74 Record room
75 Workmen's kitchen

Workshops

19 Artificer's workshop
20 Joiner's workshop
21 Plumber's workshop
33 Electrical shop
38 Rigging shed
64 Paint shop

Miscellaneous

1 Residence of Officer-in-charge (001)
22 Fire engine and gun shed
27 Boat house
67 Works Dept shed

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Robert Curran
borclaud @ tpg.com.au