Pictured: Australian Women’s Army Service (AWAS) personnel inside the underground Plotting Room at North Fort. The operator in the foreground is using the Radar Fall-of-Shot Encoder. The second Operator is using the Range Finding Telephone Exchange. The Operators at the rear are operating the Vertical Plotter Fortress No 101 (Aust).
Background: Established in 1936, North Fort is a remnant military complex at North Head Sanctuary in Manly. Strategically placed at the northern entrance to Sydney Harbour, the now-demilitarised fort formed part of a defence system that spanned 300km of coastline during World War II. Until 1952, the North Fort Battery featured two 9.2 inch calibre guns. Serviced by a network of underground tunnels, each was capable of firing a distance of 26.4km. Target coordinates were relayed to these heavy weapons from an underground Plotting Room. The AWAS began filling key wartime positions at North Head after being authorised by the government, in August 1941, to “release men from certain military duties for employment in fighting units”.
Image courtesy of the Australian War Memorial
Image Accession Number: 063469