Sunday, August 08, 2010

Fort Fallen

A local Hutt landmark is no more. The Avalon Park Fort was demolished a couple of weeks ago. It hosted countless battles, games of hide-and-seek, tag, go home-stay home, or any other childhood game we could think of. It also delivered many bumped heads, splinters and fond memories For the older kids there were countless rendezvous' day and night, gatherings and probably some virginity-losings. the Avalon Park Fort was demolished a couple of weeks ago. It reigned over its domain for thirty-five years or more, and was a destination play area for generations of Hutt kids. It had always been there, predating me by a year or so, and was a key part of childhood here. I have many memories of it, almost all of them good (the head bumps and midges and seagulls being the bad minority).

The picture above was taken late last year, after more a few years of neglect, shorn of the tower it once possessed (which older kids would try and convince those younger than them had once included a ladder to get to the very top. Sussing out that the ladder never existed was a kind of rite of passage), and the kayaks and paddle boats it once housed long gone. Here is a picture of it when it was new (including tower), and we were all a lot younger (linky).

While surviving storms, floods, and its users easily, it couldn't survive 21st century health and safety regulations. News story about its demise complete with standard issue beauracratic waffle here (linky).

In the end, the walls that had withstood and repelled thousands of assaults from all kinds of imagined foes were no match for a humble excavator, which dispatched its target in a day or so:

The bridge that was once raced across in anticipation now leads forlornly nowhere.
Before it fell though, one more generation got acquainted with the legend, even if she likely won't remember it...

Postscript: It occured to me while writing this, that out of my top three 80's adventure playgrounds, only one now remains, the fort at Eastbourne. The Queen Elizabeth Park concrete and tube bunker fort in Masterton is long gone, and now the Avalon Park Fort has joined it in being history.

1 comment:

missrabbitty said...

the one at silverstream playground is also no longer...not sure about the one at trentham memorial but i'm sure the fun police have dealt to that one too...RIP Avalon Fort...we will miss you!