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North Head Sanctuary

Home > Sydney > Walks | Places of Interest | National Parks | Lookouts | Free
by Anne Dignam (subscribe)
I am a amateur freelance writer from Sydney. My passion is Aboriginal history, Australia and its unusual places. My aim is to share my knowledge to better your experience. Thank you
Published September 7th 2013
Have you walked the Avenue of Honour?
Memorial Walk and Avenue of Honour

Heading east from the car park is a wheelchair accessible path were we learn about The Attack on Sydney Harbour in 1942. A Monument Lookout, dedicated to the Armed Forces who defended Sydney with glorious views of Sydney Harbour. Displayed plaques explaining the attack on Sydney by the Japanese Midget Submarines, are also found here. For me, while reading these plaques and envisaging what happen it becomes real, you can actually sight the areas of attack in the Harbour today. Rose Bay apparently had a rogue shell shot in the main street during this attack.

View from Lookout


Walk the Avenue of Honour, our Australian Soldiers have been remembered, their names placed on a paver and beautifully arranged with large stone pavers, from their battalions and who they were. I had a moment of Australia Pride, while walking this path.

Australian Troops honoured


As we move on we come to Information Stations, representing our Wars and Conflicts. The stations are made of sandstone and most are in excellent conditions. It was sad to see some parents allowing their children to scamper over the top of the plaques, please respect this area. It's free and can be visited at any daylight time. I have lived in Sydney for 41 years and never knew we had all this history at our doors.

War Stations along Avenue of Honour


Colonial War Section

Loads of information regarding, The Maori War 1884-1864, Egypt and The Sudan War 1885 Boxer Rebellion China War 1898-1901 and The Boer War 1899-1902.

Keep an eye out for Australia's Lone Pine.

Grown from a seed from a pine cone from the actual Lone Pine


A solider sent a pine cone home from the actual, Lone Pine and its been raised from a seedling and now proudly grows here in Honour of Our Fallen. It was planted in 2006 dedicated to the 91st Anniversary of Lone Pine, Gallipoli.

There is a dirt road leading south that goes to the North Head Lookout near Fairfax Trail which was built by Prisoners of War.

Information Station


WWII Section, in front of Gun Emplacement No 1 which has collapsed so is not accessible.

Plaques on Gallipoli and the Western Front, 1916 and minor combats, Palestine Campaign, and background into WWII and the Middle East, Tobruk, Libyan and Mediterraian , you can even learn The Marching Song, Gazala and El Alamein, Malaysia and Singapore, The Pacific Japanese Advance, including Kokoda and Timor, Korean War, Vietnam War are all covered and very informative. Further up the path to the Peace Keeping Section which obviously is not as large but still has areas vacant for future plaques.

Such a beautifully, thought out walk honouring our troops in scenic settings.

Gun Emplacement No 2

Barrel from Gun Emplacement No 2


The Barrels, Components and Cradles were unloaded or made at Pyrmont Wharf and shipped across the harbour to the Quarantine Wharf and transported by road to North Head

Gun Emplacement No 2


Where you see the reo, in the inner circle this would have housed the Pedestal. A large steel circular base, to which a roller ring separates the saddle. The saddle holds the gun and roller ring allowed it to turn 360 degrees, then the cradle to hold the barrel was shipped transported and put in place, followed by two huge steel side structures with a steel roof, followed by nets to enclose and soil then placed on top, even the paths are painted in camouflage and sandbag walls are still evident today. This 9.2 inch gun actually could be lowered and raised, so the enemy couldn't see it.

Where the two rings are on the outer ring is where the shells temporarily stored against the wall of the gun emplacement were loaded single-handedly by a solider, these are really heavy, you may view a real one defused of course, during the Tunnel Tour.

Cross Section Map


Nowadays it's surrounded by shrubs and you can only just get the odd glimpse of the ocean. Downstairs is a room with some history you may enter and read at your leisure. Also visited during the tour.

Close Defence Battery Observation Post

Past the Gun Emplacement No 2 heading North to your left on the cobblestone dirt road.

Also accessible from the car park behind the sheds is a pathway – not suitable for wheelchairs.

The CDBOP was mainly manned at night, or if the threat was close to Sydney's Harbour. Operating in conjunction with the searchlights mounted in the cliffs of North Head and the CDBOP had a depression ranger finder. Staffed by Battery Commander or Captain, Fire Command Telephonist Officer, an Inclination Officer and an Engineer Officer to control the searchlight areas of command, there really wouldn't have been much room.
The huge long sandstone walls become visible and seem to go on forever heading north. Much is inaccessible due to brush and snakes have been known to bask in these areas.

Hangman's Swamp is just pass the Observation Post and to the right take The Gunners Walk this area is rich in Aboriginal history on the headland, and I can not get much history on Hangman's Swamp but I really liked this area.

Hangman Swamp or Hanging Swamp


It's a semi circle on a steel grid track, and although a bit stinky, well worth it. The flowers are vibrant, the bird life is evident

Wildlife on the trail




Pavers may be purchased, please visit website for further details.

Please check under your vehicles for bandicoots, before leaving they are very active here, and are everywhere.
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Why? Walk the Avenue of Honour
When: Daily
Where: North Head Sanctuary
Cost: Free
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