Important Dates & Events

Monday, 26 October 2009

Concrete History

Taken from the Campbells Bay Times October 2009
Today the ridges and slopes behind Campbells Bay are prized for their views over the Hauraki Gulf, and out to the distant shoulder of Coromandel and the detached humps of the Barriers: a natural vista, crisscrossed by pleasure craft and innocent cargo vessels. It wasn't always so. As New Zealand commemorates the 70th anniversary of our entry into World War II – “Where Britain goes, we go.” - we are reminded that our cliff-tops, ridges and slopes were vantage points for another purpose: Campbells Bay shared in the nation's coastal defence. On key sites squat, reinforced concrete bunkers or 'pill boxes' were constructed, their oblong 'eyes' facing the Gulf. From within their thick claustrophobic walls, the men on coastal watch kept vigil for the first sight of the sinister outlines of an invading navy. Fortunately for us, even through the tense, vulnerable years of 1940-2, the horizon remained clear.

Recently, the Wednesday workers of the Centennial Park Bush Society cleared some of the accumulated earth and debris from one such Campbells Bay bunker. It is located a few minutes along the Mamaku Track from its junction with the Baylis Track - by the 13th tee of the golf course. While it is an ugly relic of past hostilities, it is also to be valued as a tangible part of our local history.

Peter Aimer

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