Following takeover by the Royal Navy a number of works were initiated to expand facilities on the Island. These included:
additional quarters, erection of a 5 ton crane on the eastern wharf, new wharf at the south end of Island and 20 ton crane, additional stores for shells, torpedoes, ordnance, and ship’s equipment. Additional tramways were installed as well as more water storage tanks. This work was completed during 1884 and 1885.
James Gorman VC was officer in charge of Spectacle Island from the 7th of June1881 until his death in 1882. His annual salary of 175pounds ($350). Gorman was awarded the Victoria Cross in1857 for his actions, at the Battle of Inkerman, in the Crimean conflict against the Russians.
Gorman arrived in Sydney in 1863 following discharge from the Royal Navy and became the first recipient of the Victoria Cross to live in New South Wales. He was initially employed as a Sailmaker then from 1867 as a foundation staff member on the Colonies first Nautical School Ship. The NSS Vernon a paddle-wheel steamer purchased by the New South Wales government as a training ship for the homeless neglected and destitute boys of the Colony.
James was employed as drill master and gunnery instructor. In 1869 he held the position of Master at Arms and gunnery instructor then in 1872 promoted to Sail Maker and Officer in charge of the lower deck. He was well respected by both the boys and the other officers and commended for his care of the sick onboard during an outbreak of Scarlett Fever.
Royal Navy Staff 1904 consisting of Sailors, Marines, civilian staff and the Gunnery Officer in Charge. Note the boat driver on the right with no shoes, the pet dog in the front and the Spectacle Island life ring at the rear.