Bradleys Head

2011
Cite this

Bradleys Head

Bradleys Head in Mosman is one of Sydney Harbour's most prominent natural features. It is located on the Harbour's north shore between Athol Bay and Taylors Bay. Mainly covered with large trees and thick bush, it extends like a long finger into the harbour with the foremast of the first HMAS Sydney near its southern tip. It is also of considerable historical significance. First Fleet officers observed and named it, almost every ship entering Sydney Harbour has sailed past it, it possesses Aboriginal, military and naval associations, and it has for many years been the location of various recreational activities.

The original Aboriginal inhabitants belonged to the Borogegal clan of the Eora nation. Bradleys Head was known to Aboriginal people as Borogegy, Booraghee, Booragy or Burrogy. Its present name is after Lieutenant William Bradley of HMS Sirius, the First Fleet flagship. In 1788, he referred to 'Bradley Point'. [1]

Military construction

The Crown early acquired much of the area for military purposes. Military construction work commenced in 1839–41, with a stone jetty and a circular sandstone gun pit, both of which still stand at the end of the head. Bradleys Head Road, an extension of Military Road, was originally a level path for horse-drawn vehicles to service the fortifications. Gun emplacements and a sandstone firing gallery located near the end of Bradleys Head Road were built in 1871. In the same year, the stone column from the first Sydney General Post Office façade, which was demolished in 1863, was erected near the jetty to mark a nautical mile from Fort Denison. It provided accurate sea trial measurements, allowing the speed of newly constructed ships to be checked. The wharf was used for supplying soldiers stationed at the fortifications. In 1895, TS Huntley acquired mineral leases between Bradleys Head and Athol Bay. A coal-mining site was cleared and levelled, but due to public protests, no mining was allowed. [2]

Park and bushland

In 1908, Ashton Park was proclaimed. It included 142 acres (57.5 hectares) at Bradleys Head and was named after James Ashton, New South Wales Minister for Lands. The tripod foremast and fire control tower of HMAS Sydney, the Australian warship that sank the German raider Emden in 1914 and was broken up in 1928, was erected in 1934 to coincide with the Duke of Gloucester's visit to Sydney. The dedication and playing of the national anthem were timed to occur as he sailed past on his way to a surf carnival in Manly. A bitumen road was built through Ashton Park in 1964. During the 1960s and 1970s the sisters Joan and Eileen Bradley (no relation to William Bradley), who lived very close to the park and spent much time in it, developed the widely acclaimed Bradley bushland regeneration system. [3]

Ashton Park became part of Sydney Harbour National Park in 1975. Park authorities built an amphitheatre at Bradleys Head after producers of the 2000 film Mission Impossible 2 used its site to erect a polystyrene house from which the actor Tom Cruise, after landing at the jetty, could rescue a girl being held hostage. [4]

References

Eora: Mapping Aboriginal Sydney 17701850, State Library of New South Wales, Sydney, 2006

Ian Hoskins, Sydney Harbour: A History, University of New South Wales Press, Sydney, 2009

Don McLaren, Tales of Old Mosman, Mosman Historical Society, Mosman NSW, 1978

Map of the Municipality of Mosman Showing Historical Sites and Places, Mosman Historical Society, Mosman NSW, 1988

Ruth Park, The Companion Guide to Sydney, Collins, Sydney, 1973

Nancy Phelan, Mosman Impressions, Mosman Municipal Council, Mosman NSW, 1993

Gavin Souter, Mosman: A History, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1994

PR Stephensen, The History and Description of Sydney Harbour, Rigby Limited, Sydney, 1966

Rob Sturrock, A Pictorial History of Mosman, two volumes, the author, Mosman NSW, 1982 and 1983

Notes

[1] Eora: Mapping Aboriginal Sydney 1770–1850, State Library of New South Wales, Sydney, 2006, pp 10–11; Gavin Souter, Mosman: A History, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1994, p 5

[2] Gavin Souter, Mosman: A History, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1994, pp 75, 122, 161; PR Stephensen, The History and Description of Sydney Harbour, Rigby Limited, Adelaide, 1966, pp 386–87

[3] Gavin Souter, Mosman: A History, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1994, p 161; PR Stephensen, The History and Description of Sydney Harbour, Rigby Limited, Adelaide, 1966, p 387; Rob Sturrock, A Pictorial History of Mosman, vol 2, the author, Mosman, 1982, p 115

[4] Pam Lofthouse, personal communications, 2009; Gavin Souter, Mosman: A History, Melbourne University Press, Melbourne, 1994, pp 288–89

.