I’ve lived virtually my whole life in Christchurch and never been to Godley Head, that was until last weekend. It’s only 30 minutes drive from town. I didn’t even know that there was a military compound built for World War II. It does lead me to wonder what else I’ve missed out on seeing so close to home.
The military compound was built on the edge of Godley Head at the entrance to Lyttelon Harbour to protect Canterbury during World War II in case we were attacked. It is nationally significant, as it’s one of the most intact and extensive World War II coastal defence batteries left in New Zealand. The compound consists of three long-range gun placements and seven military buildings and was home to over 400 men and women during the war. It closed in 1963.
Evans Pass road reopened this weekend (November 2012) after being closed because of the Feburary 2011 earthquake, so you can now you can access Godley Head. Before then, apparently ongoing restoration work was being undertaken, and I guess at some stage it will continue. Visitors can explore one of the underground magazines, thanks to electric lighting installed. To view the other magazine, a torch is required. There is also a lighthouse nearby but inaccessible to the public now; not surprising really when the cliffs are 120 metres high.
When I quickly snapped these photos I was thinking some of them would look good in black and white. They didn’t, so a few photos have an aged look instead.
A beautiful day to visit. The view from one of the gun emplacements with the Estuary in the background. Imagine how big the gun was.
I’ll have to return at some stage with a torch to explore and also to do one of the walks. Check out the walks here: http://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-recreation/tracks-and-walks/canterbury/christchurch-and-banks-peninsula/godley-head-walking-tracks/