Our first stop on this cruise is Newcastle NSW. We decided to check out the headland known as Fort Scratchley.
Fort Scratchley has long been associated with the history of Newcastle. Two natural features dominated early history: its height offered a prominent lookout; and seams of coal were readily accessible around its base. Both are understood to have been used by local Aborigines.
The strategic importance of a hilltop overlooking the harbour was recognised as early as 1804, and by 1828 an earthen battery was constructed and equipped with seven guns. In 1876, with fears of Russian attack, the British Government sent Major General Sir William Jervois and Lieutenant Colonel Peter Scratchley to advise on naval defences.
Under the direction of Jervois and Scratchley, Colonial Architect James Barnet oversaw construction of the Fort. It was designed around a battery of three guns facing eastward in an arc to the ocean, with other guns covering the harbour to north and west.