Unidentified Structure on Waterfall Bay Headland – industrial connection?

In May 2015 gw posted an article on gwulo.com, linked below. He thought it would be of interest to our group as what remains of the original structure are metal poles and beams, circular pipes and metal rods or cables. Whatever the function of these were at this location it may well have been industrial and possibly connected to cables taking electricity across to Lamma Island in the early 1960s.

gw has kindly given permission to use extracts and images from his original piece.

gw: I was walking around the headland that forms the north side of Waterfall Bay [Hong Kong Island] recently and noticed an old metal structure partly submerged in the sea.
Can anyone please tell me what it is?

Waterfall Bay, Mystery Structure a, Gareth Williams

Unidentified structure. Lamma Island in distance., by gw

It… consists of three levels which I’ll call upper, middle and lower. The upper level sits just above the high water mark and is a row of metal poles embedded in concrete running parallel to the water.

Waterfall Bay, Mystery Structure b, Gareth Williams

Upper level, 3rd pole from north. Wah Fu Estate (left) & Lamma Island (right) in background., by gw

The middle level is about three meters below the upper and set in a shallow excavation in the rock. Fourteen metal poles, or the remains of them, can be seen running parallel to the upper level. Being within the tidal zone the poles here are more rusted and consist of only plain metal poles without attachments.

Waterfall Bay, Mystery Structure c, Gareth Williams

Middle level, 1st (left) to 3rd poles from north., by gw

The lower level is submerged much of the time. Even at low water most of it remains out of sight beneath the water. It lies about 5m beneath, and parallel to, the middle level.

Waterfall Bay, Mystery Structure d, Gareth Williams

From what can be seen above water, it appears to consist of a frame of metal beams supporting circular pipes each containing a metal rod or cable.

Waterfall Bay, Mystery Structure e, Gareth Williams

Part of lower level showing frame supporting circular pipe containing rod or cable., by gw

I don’t know what the structure is, but two possibilities come to mind.

Could it be the remains of power cables taking electricity from Hong Kong Island to Lamma? The first such cables were laid in 1962 ( www.industrialhistoryhk.org/lamma-island-industry/ ).

Or could it be the anchor point for strings of naval mines laid to protect Hong Kong prior to the Second World War? The website www.indicatorloops.com/hongkong.htm contains information on Hong Kong’s minefields and tells us there were two types. Firstly, “contact” mines, designed to explode on physical contact with enemy shipping. Secondly, “controlled” mines, detonated by electric impulse sent along cables to the mines from land based observers. In association with the “controlled” minefields, “indicator loops” were laid on the seabed in the approaches to Hong Kong. These detected vessels crossing over them and sent an electric signal along a cable to alert watchers ashore who could decide whether to detonate the “controlled” mines.

I’ve viewed aerial photos from 1949, 1963, 1983 and 1997 of the headland on which the structure is built, but couldn’t see it nor any associated structure.

Grateful if anyone can please enlighten me as to what this structure is?

See: http://gwulo.com/node/25902

This article was first posted on 15th November 2015.

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