This is a set of 17 photographs taken during the first year of Army occupation at Fortuna, Bendigo in 1942. The photos provide an insight into the preparatory work performed on the Fortuna Villa and surrounding buildings, by the Working Party 5th Army Troop and Ordnance Training Depot, before its occupation by personnel from LHQ Cartographic Company, Royal Australian Survey Corps.
The annotation on the back of Photos .9P and .10P is misspelt. The correct spelling is ‘Nell Gwynne’. The poppet head of the Central Nell Gwynne mine is still an iconic landmark in Bendigo, lying just down the road from the poppet head lookout at Victoria Hill. The Central Nell Gwynne was the premier mine of Bendigo's 1930s mining revival and is of high historical value, due to the extensive and relatively intact features which remain at the site. The annotation on the back of Photo .17P is incorrect. The location of HQ 5th Army Troop was ‘Reynard St, Coburg.’
By late 1941 as Japan extended its control throughout Indo-China, resolving the accommodation problem of AHQ Cartographic Company located in Melbourne became more urgent. The steady Japanese advance made the bombing of Melbourne no longer a remote possibility, and in accordance with a general policy of dispersion, the Deputy Chief of the General Staff, Major General Sidney Rowell instructed Major William Sarll, in the interests of security of plant and to provide against possible damage of air attack, to investigate suitable safer inland accommodation for AHQ Cartographic Company. Major Sarll inspected many properties before finding one that would meet the requirements of the Cartographic Company. In late 1941, he came to inspect Fortuna, a rambling old mansion with about fifteen acres of ground in central Bendigo. Initially there was no intention to occupy the site beyond the end of the war, although Major Sarll's report to the Director of Survey noted many advantages in moving the Company to Bendigo. Major General Rowell quickly approved the selection of Fortuna before other authorities, which were investigating the evacuation of school children, could get in ahead of the Cartographic Company. On 23 March 1942, the Commonwealth of Australia, under the provisions of the National Security Act of 1939, took possession of the house, the old battery buildings and the fifteen acres of grounds. Under Warrant Officer J. Trist’s direction, over fifty Parks and Works tradesmen completed building works necessary to accommodate the Survey Corps’ military, map making and printing requirements. The building program was still under way when the first officer, Lieutenant Ralph Westgarth, arrived in May 1942 with the advance party which received and positioned all equipment as it came up from Melbourne in semi-trailers. Once the equipment was installed the rest of the Cartographic Company completed its shift to Bendigo by 11th June 1942. The first year of the Survey Corps’ occupation of Fortuna is covered in more detail with additional historic photographs, in pages 17-22 of Valerie Lovejoy’s book 'Mapmakers of Fortuna – A history of the Army Survey Regiment’ ISBN: 0-646-42120-4.
This is a set of 17 photographs taken during the first year of Army Occupation at Fortuna, Bendigo in 1942.
The black and white photographs were printed on photographic paper and are part of the Army Survey Regiment’s Collection. The photographs were scanned at 300 dpi.
.1) - Photo, black & white, 1942. Bendigo Parks and Works tradesmen at Fortuna. L to R: Cliff Day, Ernie Arnold, Norm?
.2) - Photo, black & white, 1942. “Don” - possibly SGT Don Sutcliffe. Fortuna, Bendigo.
.3) - Photo, black & white, 1942. Parks and Works tradesmen in garden at Fortuna, Bendigo. L to R: Fred & Ernie.
.4) - Photo, black & white, 1942. Benny Jack Williams at Fortuna, Bendigo. Accommodation tents were erected above the lake, which later became the parade ground.
.5) - Photo, black & white, 1942. Working dress - Giggle suits. Parks and Works tradesmen at Fortuna, Bendigo. L to R: Cliff and Harry on big roof.
.6) - Photo, black & white, 1942. Parks and Works tradesmen at Fortuna, Bendigo. Ted on big roof.
.7) - Photo, black & white, 1942. Gold crusher battery just behind Fortuna.
.8) - Photo, black & white, 1942. Scene of Bendigo from Fortuna.
.9) - Photo, black & white, 1942. Nell Gwynne Mine from mullock heap at Victoria Hill near Fortuna, Bendigo.
.10) - Photo, black & white, 1942. Nell Gwynne Mine and crusher near Fortuna, Bendigo.
.11) - Photo, black & white, 1942. Sluicing for gold at Eaglehawk.
.12) - Photo, black & white, 1942. Fortuna, Bendigo taken from the far side of tennis courts.
.13) - Photo, black & white, 1942. Fortuna, Bendigo & its reflection from across the lake.
.14) - Photo, black & white, 1942. Fortuna, Bendigo from the fishpond.
.15) - Photo, black & white, 1942. Fortuna, Bendigo.
.16) - Photo, black & white, 1942. First Fortuna Football Team at unknown location. L to R: 5th Bob Wright, 11th SGT Don Sutcliffe.
.17) - Photo, black & white, 1942. Working Party from 5th Army Troop and Ordnance Training Depot at Fortuna, Bendigo.
Inscriptions & markings
Some personnel are identified. Annotated with date within photos.
.1) – Annotated on back ‘Cliff, Ernie, Norm, Dec ‘42. Cliff Day - dairy farmer, plasterers’ labourer. Ernie Arnold – hard plasterer. Norm? - QM Store for tools etc. QM Store was the Stables.’
.2) - Annotated on back ‘Don. Fortuna 1942’
.3) - Annotated on back ‘Fred & Ernie. Dec 1942. Carpenters. Note the state of the gardens.’
.4) - Annotated on back ‘Benny Jack Williams Fortuna Bendigo. Tents were erected where present day parade ground is above the lake.’
.5) - Annotated on back ‘Working dress - Giggle suits. June 42. Cliff and Harry on big roof. This photo was taken as the ventilating ridge was being installed on the building housing the printing machines. The machines were installed later by civilian labour when building was complete.’
.6) - Annotated on back ‘Ted on big roof Fortuna Bendigo.’
.7) - Annotated on back ‘Gold crusher battery – Bendigo for slay heap – 1942. 12 stamp battery. Just behind Fortuna. Was working at night when the “Army” came to Bendigo. Later removed to “Coolgardie - WA. Present site of Southern Cross TV.’
.8) - Annotated on back ‘Scene of Bendigo from Fortuna. June 1942.’
.9) - Annotated on back ‘Nell Gwyne Mine from mullock heap (Victoria Hill) Sept 1942.’
.10) - Annotated on back ‘Nell Gwyne Mine and crusher September 1942.’
.11) - Annotated on back ‘Sluicing for gold at Eaglehawk. August 1942.’
.12) - Annotated on back ‘Fortuna Bendigo 1942. Taken from far side of tennis courts.’
.13) - Annotated on back ‘ “Fortuna” across the lake & reflection.’
.14) - Annotated on back ‘Fortuna from fishpond June 1942.’
.15) - Annotated on back ‘Fortuna Dec 1942.’
.16) - Annotated on front ‘X’ x2. Annotated on back First Fortuna Football Team 1942‘Bob Wright’, ‘SGT Don Sutcliffe’.
.17) - Annotated ‘Working Party at Fortuna before one of the drafts’, Working Party 5th Army Troop and Ordnance Training Depot Showgrounds, now the Sportsground Bendigo’, ‘HQ of 5th Army Troop was Reynards Rd, Coburg.’