|In 1935 the top of Wrights Hill in Karori, Wellington was chosen as a site for a 9.2" coastal defence battery. Although it was not as large as some overseas fortresses such as that on the Rock of Gibraltar, it was fairly extensive with 2,030 feet of tunnels linking magazines, gun pits, engine room, plotting rooms and more.(For a complete list see the Site Layout) |
In March 1942 the authority was given to construct the battery. Engineering reports and cost estimates were submitted to Army HQ in July and preliminary site work including roads was started in October. Downer and Company of Wellington got the contract for the underground work and started in November with the driving of the tunnels were completed late 1943. On the 13th of April 1943 Downer and Company were awarded the contract to do the concrete work for the pump chambers and gun pits. The gun pits were completed in December 1943.
The first gun was installed during June 1944, with the 2nd gun shortly thereafter. Due to the improved situation in the Pacific theatre of the war the third gun was cancelled despite the gun pit and underground works for it having being constructed. The only time the guns were fired was when they proofed them to ensure that they worked properly The proofing consisted of 3 shots fired - each shot at a different elevation and bearing. The No.1 gun was proofed on the 28th of June 1946 and the No.2 gun was proofed on the 26th of March 1947. The only damage caused by the proofing was some broken windows at the fortress and in the suburb of Karori below.