Due to an extraordinary piece of good fortune, The Speculator firstly discovered the North Head gun was to fire at the end of the fireworks display, and then secondly was able to slip through the night like a yellow will-o-the-wisp to the summit of North Head, avoiding the traffic and chaos that enveloped the peninsula like the fog of cordite left after the fireworks display.
The result is a series of less than impressive photos of the North Head disappearing gun being prepared to fire and firing for the first time ever at night.
MOTAT had been employed by the RWC dudes, with the help of pyrotechnician Gunner Ashford (yes I checked) and 3.5 lbs of gunpowder left over from the filming of The Last Samurai, to end the fireworks display with a bang.
Standing only a few metres behind the gun when it was fired, The Speculator can confirm there was indeed a bang, of quite some considerable bangitude.
Prior to this, The Speculator also witnessed (and lamely photographed) the searchlight that illuminated Bean Rock, upon which the Conch Player for the opening ceremony was positioned. Again run by MOTAT, the searchlight was manned by none other than Ross Goldsworthy. Ross had, in the 1950s, manned the searchlights on North Head, prior to serving in and seeing action in the Vietnam War with 161st Artillery Battery.
He wisely warned The Speculator; “Keep your mouth open when the gun goes off; it protects your eardrums.” Given The Speculator’s careless proximity to the 13 ton cannon when it fired, it was only these words that saved The Speculator from wearing his eardrums on his shoulders for the rest of his life.
Some animal lover brought their fluffy white dog up onto North Head to witness the fireworks display. The animal’s consternation levels caused by the distant crumps of exploding fireworks was such that The Speculator can only shudder at what the poor animal made of the gigantic explosion that occurred only a matter of metres away from where it was cowering.
The journey back home was largely uneventful, although there were the inevitable drunks in cars and on the footpaths making their unwelcome presence felt. One idiot stumbled out into the middle of the road in front of a car, which stopped just in time. On hearing the horn, the louth gave what can only be described as an excessive amount of finger to the person who had just saved his life.
The Speculator should like to apologise for the quality of the photos; bring back Goina we hear you cry.
However, The Speculator did marginally better than DoC’s North Head official Dave Veart, whose excitement at the moment of detonation caused him to fall over, resulting in him taking a photo of the top of a nearby flagpole instead.