(also been known as Tower Hill)
Photo by Steve Hudson. Warren Tower Walk
||-34.725817, 138.928020 (GDA 94)
||Mount Lofty Ranges
||Original: ?m x ?m
Current: ?m x ?m
|Public access to site
||In use since
||Original: 1940s - 1994?
Current: 1994? -
Below is an extract from the Fire Tower chapter of a book, Forestry Tales, that was written by Michael H. Bleby OAM. It is used with permission, thanks Michael.
When I transferred to Mt Crawford as District Forester, I found the fire detection system in the Mt Lofty Ranges was different again. We had just one key forest observation tower at Tower Hill* with no real ability to obtain cross reference bearings on smoke sightings. The Tower Hill* observation tower was a squat brick building with box cabin on the roof. Access was by a removable ladder that lived in the locked building which also housed the base radio and its associated batteries. As there was no reticulated power to this site, the batteries were kept charged by a Davey-Dunlite wind generator, which was notorious for breakdowns and needing expensive repair issues which arose constantly. The wind blades got a particularly ceaseless work out on this exposed site. The regular tower observer manned the tower on Ash Wednesday Feb 16th 1983 and I recall his 1000 hrs report to the office which said that deteriorating visibility due to raised dust was now reduced to about 50 metres. He returned to HQ and became a valuable mobile ground scout during the devastating fire that took place that afternoon.
Many fires were notified directly to the CFS, often when still quite small. Smoke was usually seen by the one of the locals before it got high enough among the hills and the valleys to be seen by the tower, and with a much denser population there were far more eyes out and about than in the more sparsely populated flat South East Region. On Very High and Extreme days we had the added benefit of the CFS aerial detection patrols and our Forest HQ took radio calls from the aerial observers as they flew a circuit over the Mt Lofty Ranges. We also had a crude alidade mounted on a post at the Cudlee Creek Forest HQ to the South which was on a ridge. The resident supervisor could use it for quick reference on occasions. There was also an observation cabin which had been built half way up an existing microwave tower to the North. It was located on a ridge about half way between Mt Crawford summit and the Kaiserstuhl peak at Pewsey Vale, which is just south of the Barossa Valley. The cabin was an awkward “L” shaped box with fairly ordinary visibility because various pillars and girders obscured much of the vista. Needless to say, it wasn’t regularly used and I think has been since removed.
* Additional information received from Michael in August 2022: The current Mt Crawford tower is in the same location as the brick one that was there when I was DF, and we called the site "Tower Hill", and its location is probably still known by that name, but the "Mt Crawford Fire Tower" is how it is best described. I don't know when the current tower replaced the cabin on the brick structure, but my guess it was circa 1990.
The road up to the tower is still called Tower Hill Track and the adjoining area is called Tower Hill Native Forest Reserve, within the Mount Lofty Ranges.
Back to South Australian Towers
Back to Home Page