Military Boundary Stones
You've likely seen at least one of these around Hong Kong:
These old stones marked the boundary of a piece of land used by the British Armed forces. Here are the stones we know of (click an entry in the list, or a marker on the map, for more details about that stone):
The map below is 'live': you can drag it around with your mouse, click the +/- buttons to zoom in and out, and click the Map/ Satellite/ Hybrid buttons to change the appearance of the map.
Air, Land, and Sea
The stone shown above is an example of a War Department Boundary Stone, used to mark out the army's land. You'll see 'W D' engraved on the stone, together with an upward-pointing arrow.
There are also several Naval Boundary Stones still around. You'll recognise them by the anchor engraved on them. They marked land belonging the Royal Navy. At the time these stones were used, the authority in command of the Navy was called the Admiralty, so you'll also see these stones called Admiralty Boundary Stones. Here's one on the lawn in front of Flagstaff House:
Next the Air Ministry Boundary Stone. You can see the 'A M' initials on this example from the UK, but I don't know if there were / are any here in Hong Kong. Has anyone seen one? Perhaps around the RAF buildings in Kwun Tong?
A stone's features
Regardless of the type of stone, the typical design is a granite block, around one foot square, with the design engraved on one side. Some were flat on top, some rise to a point. I'm not sure if the flat / point difference tells us anything useful (eg the year the stone was erected?), or if they just varied by chance.
Each stone has a number. A map of the 'Cantonment of Victoria'  shows us that the stones were numbered in sequence along each boundary. eg WD stone #37 is still at, or very near to its original location, and was part of the boundary around the barracks area where Hong Kong Park and Pacific Place are today.
The lowest numbered stone along this boundary was #17, at the bottom of Monmouth Path in Wanchai. From there they were numbered in an anti-clockwise direction along Queen's Road (today's Queensway), around the old parade ground, up Garden Road and Boundary Path to Kennedy Road, past #37, then along Kennedy Road until it reached the hillside above Monmouth Path. The last section of the boundary ran downhill again til it reached #43, and back to the starting stone, #17.
The Naval stone shown above also has a date, 1910. Moddsey explains:
The Stone represented the boundary of the enlarged Royal Naval Dockyard in 1910. In line with the expansion of the China Station, the Royal Navy had also acquired North and Wellington Barracks (north of Queensway) from the Army.
See them while you can
Although stones #1..16 don't appear on the map above, it's clear that there were a large number of stones. In total I counted 118 stones marked on the map! Originally I thought I knew of four remaining. When I looked, one of those has already disappeared, leaving just three still standing. So, see them while you still can.
Defence Lot Boundary Stones
The modern equivalent of the old boundary stones described above is the Defence Lot Boundary Stone. I'm not sure exactly when the change happened, but it was likely during or after 1964, the year that the Admiralty, War Office and Air Ministry merged to become the Ministry of Defence .
The new stones use a different numbering system. Each stone shows the number of the Lot whose boundary they mark, so all stones around one Lot show the same number. Here's a couple of the stones around Defence Lot #4, the area that used to be known as ‘Queen’s Lines’, and is now called ‘Ching Yi To Barracks’. This one is at the base of a pillar where Queens Rd East turns into Queensway:
And this is on the corner of the junction where the road to the barracks turns off from Justice Drive.
Are there more?
If you know of any others, please can you let us know?
The quickest way is to leave a comment, but the best way is to create a new place and give it one of these tags:
- war department boundary stone
- naval boundary stone
- air ministry boundary stone
Then it will automatically be added to the map and list above. Let us know if you need any help creating the place.
If you know any other stories or information, (or you can spot any mistakes I've made!), it will be great to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.
 'Hong Kong, Cantonment of Victoria, c.1924', ref:HG7, Survey & Mapping Office
 'Ministry of Defence' entry on Wikipedia
 The 'War Department Boundary Stones' photo pool on Flickr. Over 200 of them!