Spectacle Island Magazine c. 1900-1920.
Image courtesy of the Mitchell Library State Library of NSW - Call number: PXA 635/837
The Board of Ordnance was present in the Colony from 1836 until 1850, but as there were still Imperial troops in Australia until 1870, there remained a need for Imperial business to be performed by a Colonial organisation.
Abner Brown departs the Colony after his "delicate affair" is exposed leaving unpaid a bill owed to the Sydney Gazette newspaper. Is this Abner Brown, known also as Battery Brown, the Ordnance Storekeeper?
Do, Mr. Bombardier, thy business mind.
Fill thy shells with ammunition of other kind.
"On Thursday 4 March 1875, a deputation from the Sydney and suburban municipalities and the Sydney Chamber of Commerce met with the Colonial Secretary to urge the removal of the gunpowder magazine to some safer place than Goat Island."
"Officers in charge of magazines will be required to know exactly where each article is stored, so as to be able to find it at once when required on the darkest night."
There has never been a large-scale explosion, of the type that devastates an entire neighbourhood, at an explosives facility in Sydney. However smaller-scale accidents have occurred from time to time, and the Bridge-street explosion in 1866 may have been a major tragedy had it occurred during a week day.
"The proximity of the magazine to the place from whence the flames aspired, was, in itself, a circumstance so dreadful, as not to leave a moment to decide."
"One of the most awful and imposing spectacles which has occurred since the conflagration of the Three Bees about 20 years ago, was witnessed on Saturday in the harbour of Port Jackson."
On the evening of March 4 in 1866, a shipbroker's office at no. 17 Bridge Street, Sydney was devastated by the accidental explosion of two bottles of nitro-glycerine.
By 1882, and with the prospect of an imminent transfer of Spectacle Island to the Royal Navy, magazine space at Goat Island was insufficient for the task at hand so reliance was placed on the use of hulks for storing merchant's powder.
The information about RAN Armament Depots has now been transferred to a separate section of this website.
Permission given by MAPCO : Map And Plan Collection to reproduce portion of an 1836 Plan Of Sydney With Pyrmont is gratefully acknowledged, as is the use of material derived from the National Library of Australia's Trove database, and the National Archives of Australia. Thanks also to Peter Dean, for services rendered. Other individual acknowledgements are given on the page where the material appears.
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