Fort Denison

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Fort Denison in the middle of Sydney Harbour is a fascinating place to visit if you want a little taste of the city’s convict past. In 1788 a convict named Thomas Hill was sentenced to a week on the island with only bread and water provisions – thereafter the island was called Pinchgut by Australia based guests of her majesty. By 1796, there was a gibbet installed on the island for hangings to be carried out and the island was also used by convicts to quarry the sandstone used to build Circular Quay. After two American warships entered the harbour and circled the island by night in 1839, there was a fort built on the island to strengthen the city’s defenses. Today you can also see damage from the open fire in 1942 when three Japanese submarines entered Sydney Harbour. These days there is little drama to be found around the site, but there is an interesting museum and it is well worthwhile visiting this colonial relic. You can get to Fort Denison by ferry from Circular Quay – but it is a good idea to time your visit to coincide with the 1pm cannon fire that happens daily at the site.

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