The headlands of Malabar National Park in Sydney's south is home to some old lookouts from World War II. Hidden away on the beautiful coastline, you can find dotted around the area several batteries and lookouts such as Malabar Battery, Banks Battery, Henry Battery and several other little lookout posts.
They were used during World War II as coastal defences to protect Botany Bay. Malabar battery had some pretty serious firepower onboard, home to two 6inch Mark XII guns as well as an underground counter bombardment facility with gun crew ready rooms, ammunition supply and an engine room with a small tramway that was cut into the sandstone.
After the war, the guns were removed and the battery was decommissioned, and not much else was done to it, and like most things unkept, it fell into disrepair and is now a popular place for explorers, photographers and I have heard there's even been a rave or two thrown out there.
As I mentioned, there are several different sites to find here, there is the main battery, and then several little ones and one located on the cliff edge that has a great view out to the ocean. Each site has its own little charm and historical appeal, but the main one probably is the most appealing, its here you can find the old tramline, the barracks next to the tram line and also the main multi storey lookout which at the time of writing was still accessible with a little exploring.
Your best bet it plan to spend some time out here, as its a big area and a lot of room to explore and try and find the sites. As well as that, it's a nice area right on the coast with some lovely white cliffs and views out to the ocean. Unfortunately we went out a little late and only had a limited amount of light which meant little amount of time to explore. Inside the battery was too dark to get any photos, and we only got to check out a couple of the structures. I will go back again most likely at sunrise so I have more time to explore everywhere. It's nice at sunset or sunrise!
WHAT: An abandoned coastal defence battery built during World War II at Malabar Headlane in Sydney's south.
ACCESS - EASY: It's easy. There's a car park near by where you can park and then walk around the fence or climb through any of the large holes big enough to drive a car through.
SECURITY - LOW: The holes in the fence are huge, there's no one around except bushwalkers, people walking their dogs or other explorers or photographers. Security is practically non-existent. The area is a national park and huge, so even if you did come across some sort of security (which you won't) there is acres of shrub cover to run and hide in.
INTEREST - 4/10: It's alright, not amazing and but its still kind of cool and a bit of history lesson (I never knew we had defence systems during the war!) and the surrounding area is nice. You get a great contrast of the derelict buildings against the green of the shrubs, the white of the cliffs or the blue of the ocean.
ALONE OR WITH A FRIEND: Either. It's safe to go alone and pretty cool to go with a friend as well as its about a 10-15 minute walk from the car park till you find something. Even grab a coffee or some wine and go sit out at the lookout that looks over the headland and ocean at sunrise/sunset and enjoy it with your better half.
DANGERS: I didn't see too much that would be classed as a danger here personally. if you climb on things you might fall off them, which can happen climbing on your couch at home. In the middle of summer you might encounter a snake in the shrubs, but personally I haven't seen any in my visits here. Inside the main building there is a lot of broken glass, so wear some shoes that can withstand a glass shard or two.
Also after posting several people have informed me the rifle range near by is still active…I have been here week days and weekends and never heard one shot, and it looks like something is being constructed out here, but according to Google the range is still open so if you hear gun shots, that's why, but if you google map it though you will see just how far away the range is from the parts where you walk and the battery and forts/lookouts.
Disclaimer – The person referred to as “I” in this post is not necessarily me, nor does “I” refer to anyone in particular, likewise with the word 'we'. I will not be held responsible it anyone ventures to these locations and gets in trouble or injured. These words may be a ramble of useless information and the photos found on a lost usb picked up in the gutter? Who knows?