In 1940 Australia was at war. Steel was considered a commodity at this time, so to protect the Newcastle Steelworks and Williamstown Airport, a fort was placed on Mt Tomaree's peninsular. Leaving Port Stephens' Harbour unguarded wasn't an option.
[ADVERT]The Army's C company protected the headland, comprised of 500 men and Garrison Infantry WW1 veterans, a rifle company, medium machine gun platoon, mortar and anti tank detachments, signallers and admin officers. The navy had the torpedo threat on land under their jurisdiction. They were cecommissioned in 1943, thankfully for Port Stephens a short period of angst.
The guns were never fired in anger and now collapsed rifle pits, command posts and gun emplacements remain. Accommodation bunkers are in the hills. They have a separate single steel door, sleeping up to 10 men on duty, who slept on wire bunk beds with a jute bag filled with straw as a mattress.
It so sad, everywhere I go to see these reminders of Australia's history, all I see is graffiti on all bunkers. Please I ask that if you see fresh graffiti, please report it and if possible take a photo so the rangers can remove it. This is our history and we need to honour and respect these areas.
Sometimes the bunkers are closed off because of damage. If you bring a torch and peep through the holes, you can still see.
Explore the rifle pits in the hillside, just look for huge concrete slabs on the ground. Please be careful as some do have holes and reo does protrude in some areas. At the time they had a clear view of the harbour, now trees and shrubs shroud the view. The kids will love going up and down the ladders into the pits and command posts.
We spent a couple of hours here easily and there is a bench table to picnic at. I truly recommend this walk for anyone in Port Stephens a very easy walk with spectacular views fantastic information stations and prime foreshore real estate of Shoal Bay.
Have a dip in Shoal Bay and refresh from your two exciting walks. For those on a timetable, both walks are easily completed in two hours return and the Summit is considered moderate to hard walk with rock step.