Fort Largs Police Academy

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Coordinates: 34°48′36″S 138°29′38″E / 34.810086°S 138.493824°E / -34.810086; 138.493824 Fort Largs is historic defence facility in the seaside suburb of Taperoo near Port Adelaide, approximately 18 km (11 mi) north west of Adelaide's centre. Today Fort Largs survives in slightly modified condition from its original state, but its underground tunnels, gun emplacements and storage areas are still largely original.[1]

A small part of the original fort was adapted for use by the nearby South Australia Police academy which was known as Fort Largs Police Academy, the main training facility for South Australia Police. However the old Academy has been disused since 2011 and is awaiting re-development by Renewal SA, as a new Police Academy has been built further east.

History[edit]

In the late 1800s, visits of Russian ships in South Australian waters were of a friendly nature, but the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878 was seen by Britain as part of a potential expansion plan by the Russian Empire into India, and the Australian colonies were advised to upgrade their defence capabilities. The inadequacy of defences in the colony was seen in 1862, when the Svetlana sailed into Port Phillip Bay (Melbourne) and the fort built had no gunpowder for its cannons to use to return a salute. William Jervois, a Royal Engineer, was commissioned to determine the defence capabilities of all colonies, with the exception of Western Australia. In his report, he was convinced that the Russian Empire would attack South Australian shipping in an attempt to destroy the local economy. As a result of Jervois' report, Fort Glanville and Fort Largs were built to protect Port Adelaide.[2][3][4]

Lieutenant Colonel Peter Scratchley was primarily responsible for the design of both Fort Largs and its nearby precursor Fort Glanville.[5] Work began in 1882 on what was first known as the Port Adelaide battery, to the same specification as Fort Glanville. Its barracks and rear defence wall were finished in 1885.[6] Emphasis for defence of the Adelaide coast had shifted to Fort Largs by 1888. In 1889, Fort Largs was equipped with two 6-inch breach-loading disappearing guns which outranged Glanville's armament.[7] Due to this and changes in the Port River and shipping movements, Fort Largs had surpassed Fort Glanville in strategic importance by 1890.[5]

Barracks and Drill Hall[edit]

In May 1939 construction commenced on a two-storied brick barracks for the artillery units based at Fort Largs, plus a brick drill hall for use of the militia. The barracks incorporated a commercial kitchen and mess room, orderly room, canteen and billiard room, and administration rooms. When the police occupied Fort Largs in 1961 that same disposition was continued for several decades, although the barrack rooms were immediately adapted into classrooms for cadet training. In October 2015 the barracks and drill hall were provisionally entered as State Heritage Places in the South Australian Heritage Register.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.weekendnotes.com/fort-largs/
  2. ^ Protopopov (2006), A Russian Presence: A History of the Russian Church in Australia, p.8.
  3. ^ Scanlon, Mike (19 July 2008). "Unorthodox Russians". The Newcastle Herald. 
  4. ^ Kroupnik, Vladimir. "The frigate "Svetlana" in Australia in 1862". Russia–Australia Historical Military Connections. Retrieved 2009-04-09. 
  5. ^ a b NPWS (1988), p.55.
  6. ^ NPWS (1988), p.58.
  7. ^ NPWS (1988), p.59.

Bibliography[edit]