Commandant's Quarters - Fort Scratchley Circa 1886 - Newcastle NSW

Bev Woodman

Valentine, Australia

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Artist's Description

Records indicate that the Commandant’s Quarters at Fort Scrathley at the mouth of the Hunter River in Newcastle NSW was built in 1885/86 although the site had been occupied in a military fashion since 1804 when a coal fired beacon was established on the site to assist mariners in their navigation of this difficult coastline and harbour entrance. Initially known as Beacon Hill, the fort site has enjoyed numerous names over the years: 1822 Signal Hill, Collier’s Point, Allan’s Hill, Coal Head, Fortification Hill, Flagstaff Hill and Fiddlesticks. In about 1887 the hill was documented as Fort Scratchley and has retained that name since. The site has recently undergone a huge makeover and the grounds have recently been reopened to visitors however the buildings and tunnels are still incomplete. “The Fort is situated at the eastern end of Newcastle on a hill 108 feet above sea level and composed of sandstone and coal. It commands Newcastle Harbour to the north and west and its seaward approaches from the east. The northern and eastern bases of the Fort are protected by thick concrete walls, and the southern and south-eastern sides are protected by a wide ditch and a loopholed concrete wall”. (taken from Forth Scratchley, Newcastle NSW by L Carey & Others, 2nd edition, 1986). In other words the view from the top of the hill is spectacular!!

Artwork Comments

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