Off the quiet road on the way down to Port Royal, we took a little detour to follow an unexpected sign. “To Fort Rocky”, it said. I had read a little about a few other old forts in the area and was expecting the ruins of old stone walls, but was surprised to see an abandoned compound that was quite modern. The fort’s dusty courtyard was surrounded with crumbling and roofless concrete structures. Rusting rebar poked out around windows and door frames. My eye lead straight to the graffiti-sprayed walls and signs of vagrant inhabitation. Cacti sprouted in incongruous spaces. What was it? And why was it abandoned? I had no idea and there were no other clues. The sun was fierce and there was little shade, but I had to take a few pictures:
A little research online when we returned home revealed that Fort Rocky was built just before the first world war. Fort Rocky became a major coastal guns defense, replacing the Victoria Battery at Fort Charles that was damaged in the 1907 earthquake. The fort regularly housed more than 80 officers before it was closed after the end of the second world war. I wish I had known during our visit that the area also had a steam railway that ran down the Palisadoes pennisula, near to Fort Rocky, all the way down to Port Royal. Prior to 1936 there was no driveable road and the railway provided a way to transport important supplies. There are still remnants of the old railway bridge to be spotted today, but I didn’t know to look. Interesting piece of abandoned history.