The Disappearing Guns of Auckland
The coastal fortifications of the port of Auckland, New Zealand, from 1885 to 1925 are studied in depth, from an historical archaeology perspective. An understanding of their wider context is essential to an understanding of the sites themselves, so a study is made of European artillery and fortification practice and technology from the 14th century onwards, with an emphasis on the coastal artillery practices of the British Empire in the 19th century. On this foundation, coastal fortification practices in New Zealand in the 19th century are examined, and the political background to the construction of coastal forts is outlined. The social and economic impact of the defences are studied, and the resources used in their construction detailed. Land acquisitions for the defence works in Auckland are examined. With a thorough understanding of their background and context (both national and international), Forts Resolution, Bastion, Takapuna, Victoria, Cautley and the submarine mining depots are then studied in detail, with limited excavations, extensive field survey, and the use of comprehensive archival sources. Fina1ly, it, is concluded that the forts built in Auckland between 1885 and 1925 were a product of the colonial experience, in that, they were a complex technological product of imperial demands and needs, and had little relevance to the realities and requirements of a small and remote colony 20,000 km away from the imperial centre. The thesis is a study of the ‘disappearing gun’ period of coastal fortification, and also an acknowledgement that much of the evidence of this once socially and economically significant activity has been destroyed. To assist the reader, there is a large bibliography, and appendices containing a comprehensive glossary, a list of New zealand defence schemes from 1840 to 1914, a list of site record numbere, and biographical details of the key fort builders.