Monks’ Wall Ruins Anchorage
Monks’ Wall. The ruins of a massive and mysterious rock wall lie hidden just inside the treeline on Harbledown Island, at the north end of Beware Passage. Chinese Buddhist monks are reported to have been on the island more than a century ago, and some have speculated that they are the ones who built the wall. It makes an intriguing story; far from their homeland, devout Buddhists in their robes carrying and positioning huge stones for what? -a temple, perhaps.
The real story is not intriguing, but it is at least as inspiring. The wall was not built by monks. It was built by white settlers, William Herbert Gallery and his wife Mary Anne Galley. In the late 1800s Galley acquire 160 acres on Harbledown Island and built a trading post there. According to Galley’s great-granddaughter, great-grandfather Galley married Mary Anne Wharton in 1889. Together they cleared the land, planted 125 fruit trees, and kept cows, pigs, chickens, ducks and sheep. The homestead was defined by carefully built rock walls, straight and solid. An archway marked the entrance to the trading post. It is said that Mary Anne Galley carried rocks in her apron. Those rocks are big.
The Monks’ Wall is located on the west side of Beware Passage, a short distance south of Dead Point. It is on the point of land separating two large, shallow bays, at lat 50°35.40’N. (This latitude was measured on the chart, and is approximate.) Anchor in the bay north of that point of land and row the dinghy in. The bottom shoals when approaching the cove, and is dense with the week that could foul a propeller. Working from north to shore, identify the third little nook on the point of land. It’s a definite indent. At the treeline, a tangled rootball from a blown-down tree marks the entry. The ruins of the magnificent walls are just inside.
If you hike through the woods around the area you’ll find more walls; taken together they’re impressive. All built by hand. Straight and true. Enveloped now by the relentless forest. The archway has since collapsed.
Request: The wall and the lesser walls in the surrounding forest are treasures. Please, no souvenirs, no destruction, no litter.
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