July 30, 2002

Sydney Harbour Fortifications (Sydney, Nova Scotia)

I've only been to Sydney once before, over a decade ago (when I'd photographed the Sydney Steel Coke Oven in its death-throws). At the time, I'd also spent a day photographing the Second World War harbour defences, which closely mirrored those of the Halifax Defence Complex. I had been
aware that the Canadian Armed Forces must have defended the harbour during the Second World War, as it was one of the three Canadian staging point for Trans-Atlantic convoys (the other staging points were Halifax and St Johns, in Newfoundland).
8"x10" film
This time around, because of time restrictions, rather then trying to tackle the full range of the harbour defences, I opted to focus more exclusively on two sites, one for each day I was in the area. Because it was directly on our way into the city, I opted to work with North Bar first. I clearly remembered the fort's location, and when we finally came around the corner and could see the smoke-stack and fire-control towers, it fit perfectly with my decade-old memory of the space.
8"x10" film
Like most of the forts in Sydney Harbour, North Bar is a mixture of intact emplacements and broken
rubble; most of the main batter is intact, with the concrete emplacement, gun chambers and magazines in fair condition. The searchlight emplacements, and other outer works haven't faired as well, unfortunately, with a great deal of the remaining concrete swiftly disappearing into the harbour surf.
8"x10" film
The couple of hours I spent at North Bar Battery were split between working on the beach below the emplacement and remaining searchlight towers, and documenting the emplacement from it's position overlooking the mouth of the harbour. The day's light, grey and threatening, was great for the details and studies by the shore, but left much to be desired when I was working with the broader view above.

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