Oliver Hill – Gun and Tunnel Tour
Part of my Rottnest Island exploration was a visit at Oliver Hill where an important military remnants can be found – the 9.2 inch battery. The place became World War II heritage site because of its significant role during the said war.
Our bus tour parked at Oliver Hill not far from the Crew Shelter where Gun platform was installed beside it. The moment we got off the bus, we walked inside the Crew Shelter where we found information about the 9.2 inch Battery and its huge role to defend the port of Perth where it showcase how far the gun can reach which encircles the island itself and even able to defend Perth and Fremantle port.
Information Board inside Crew Shelter
9.2 Inch Battery at Oliver Hill – Cross Section and Plan
Gun Room and Platform
Then, with the help of military veteran volunteer, we went inside the gun-room and went upstairs to the Gun Platform. Then, he explained some facts about the 9.2 inch battery while emphasizing the objects and parts that can be seen inside the gun room and gun platform.
9.2 inch GUN CARTRIDGE HALF CHARGE
Two of these made up a full charge. Both were expelled into the chamber of the gun as the hollow power rammer withdrew after ramming the shell into the rifling of the barrel.
To reduce wear in the gun barrel, one half charge could be used alone in practice shooting
Inside Gun Room
Inside Gun Platform
The Gun Piece
Outside Surroundings of Gun Battery – seeing the island at different angle
Not far from the Gun Battery, we descended for few meters to visit a tunnel and before we entered the underground infrastructure, we found the entrance to the H1 magazine, a spur (or small branch) from the main railway line that ran past on it. The exposed rails are part of the original spur line.
We entered in a small service door that goes inside the tunnel. And the following rooms that we had visited are Underground Hydraulic Pump Chamber, Shell Room and Cordite Room – both part of Underground Magazine and Engine Room.
The Pump Chamber housed electrically driven pumps which supplied high pressure oil, air and water to the H1 GUN Platform.
High pressure oil was used to drive hydraulic motors and rams on the Gun Platform, allowing the movement of the gun.
A three stage air compressor supplied compressed air for blowing out the breech chamber and bore of the gun. Water was supplied to wash out and cool the breech chamber.
The access shaft carried pipe work destined for the gun platform. An emergency escape and ventilation shaft from the Pump Chamber led to an outside door at ground level.
Underground Hydraulic Pump Chamber
MAGAZINE SHELL STORES
The shell store housed three types of Shells
High explosive shells designed to explore immediately on impact; armour-piercing shells, which could penetrate 6 inches of steel or 12.8 kilometers and drill practice shells.
The shells were moved by overhead chain blocks to the magazine hoist and then hoisted to the Gun Room
Shell Store / Underground Magazine
MAGAZINE CORDITE ROOM
The cordite room was used for storing the propellant cartridges.
Each cartridge containing 24.3 kilograms or cordite enclosed in a silk cloth bag approximately 760 millimeters long
Cartridges were stores in zinc coated steel cylinders for transport, which had a quick screw on-off lid.
Cordite Room / Underground Magazine
Walking along the narrow tunnel (Man-Made Earth Mound) towards the Engine Room
The engine room supplied the electrical power for the ‘H BATTERY, being H1 and H2 Guns.
The engine room contained two 180 H.P 6VCR Ruston Horsnby 6 cylinder diesel engines, direct coupled to a 120 KW Lawrence Scott DC generator
The engines were started by compressed air. Fuel was supplied to each header tank from the storage tanks situated adjacent to the engine room entrance.
When the main engines were not running, power for lighting, machine tools and other equipment was provided by an auxiliary 38.5 H.P Lister 4 cylinder diesel engine direct coupled to a 24KW DC generator.
Service Door of Engine Room
We exited another service door as a marked that we finished the tunnel tour. Then, we returned to the top through stairs which not really far from where we started.
Lake Vincent / Baghdad from Oliver Hill
Oliver Hill has important role that cannot be just ignored as there was a time that it has done its purpose after the gun battery was built here. But by looking at its surroundings, how beautiful it is, I just realized that the generations after war must be appreciative as we see and feel the peace that reigns in our time.
After historical visit in Oliver Hill, we returned to our bus to continue our journey in the rest of the island.
1. Plan to visit Rottnest Island ? Please check latest information here.
2. Location : Rottnest Island, WA 6161, Australia
3. Directions to Rottnest Island :
a. Join Day Tours from Perth or
b. Go to Barrack Street Jetty Elizabeth Quay terminal and take Rottnest Express
c. Go to Hillarys Ferry Terminal and take Rottnest Fast Ferries boat
d. Go to Northport Rous Head Harbour or B Shed Victoria Quay in Fremantile and
take Rottnest Express ferry or
e. Go to B Shed Victoria Quay in Fremantile and take Sealink Rottnest Island ferry
4. Directions to Oliver Hill
a. Join Day Tours from Perth
b. Take a train ride from Settlement Train Station to Oliver Hill Station or
c. Biking from Thomson Bay Settlement to Oliver Hill.
Official Website : Rottnest Island