Fort Scratchley Historic Site open 6 days a week...10am to 4pm...closed Tuesdays ...Free Entry to site ... paid guided tours of tunnels available at 10.30, 11.30, 1.05, 1.40...last tour 2.30pm...3.45pm LAST gate entry

1804 - A coal fired beacon was established on the Hill for mariners. It remained a site for maritime communications throughout the nineteenth century, with the later installations of a signaling station and semaphore.


1855 - Local Citizens formed the Newcastle Volunteer Rifle and Artillery Corps when fears of a Russian attack in the colonies, as a result of the war Britain was fighting against Russia in the Crimea.


1866 - Newcastle Volunteer Rifle and Artillery Corps received two, 32 pounder smooth bore (SB) guns, which were mounted in earth-work emplacements on Signal Hill to protect the Newcastle Harbour entrance.


1874 - Two, 68 -pounders SB (smooth bore) guns replaced the earlier 32-pounders on Signal Hill as the main harbour defences.


1876 - Continued hostilities between England and Russia threatened Britain's colonies. Some of them, including New South Wales, requested the British Imperial Government to advise on their fortifications. In response, the Secretary of State nominated Major-General Sir William Jervois RE, CB, KCMG, Governor of Straits Settlements to undertake this work.


1877 - Major-General Sir William Jervois and Colonel Peter Scratchley RE arrived in the colony and the former was commissioned by the Government to investigate and report on defences at major ports. Their report, submitted to the Government recommended that three 9 inch Rifle Muzzle Loading (RML) and four 80pdr RML guns be placed on Signal Hill. Colonel Scratchley became responsible for the detailed planning of this fort, later to be named Fort Scratchley.


1880 - Plans were drawn up by Mr G A Morell of the Colonial Architect's Department and were approved by Sir William Jervois and Colonel Scratchley.


1881 - Construction of the fort commenced and it was completed in 1882 with the three 9 inch RML and four 80 pdr RML guns as planned.Nordenfeld Guns


1892 - The three 9 inch RML guns were removed and replaced by one 8 inch and three 6 inch (breech loading) BL disappearing guns of the Armstrong design.


1898 - The three 80 pdr RML guns in the casemate were replaced by three 1.5 inch Nordenfelt quick firing (QF) guns. (see right)


Nineteenth Century Developments - Pre Federation



The Fort is open 6 days a week, (closed Tuesday) from 10am to 4pm.

Admission and self guided tours (excluding tunnels) of the Fort is free.

Society’s Office

Ph: (02) 4929 3066



Self guided Fort Tour