[502views 16/6/12 – camera: Nikon D70]
Fort Denison as seen from a passing ferry
The tiny island on which the fort stands was known to the Aboriginal people as Mat-te-wan-ye or Mallee’wonya. It was called Rock Island after the First Fleet arrived in 1788, but came to be known as Pinchgut after the convict Thomas Hill was sentenced to a week on bread and water in irons there.
Once a 15 m high sandstone rock, the island was flattened as prisoners under the command of Captain George Barney, the civil engineer for the colony, quarried it for sandstone to construct nearby Circular Quay. By 1796 the government had installed a gibbet on Pinchgut. The first convict to be hanged there may have been Francis Morgan.
After two American warships entered the harbour at night in 1839 and circled the island Barney recommended the government establish a fort there to help protect Sydney Harbour from foreign attack. Fortification of the island began in 1841 but was not completed until 1857 following fear of a Russian naval attack during the Crimean War. The fort, which took its name from Sir William Thomas Denison (governor of New South Wales 1855 – 1861), features a Martello tower, the only one ever built in Australia and the last one ever constructed in the British Empire. Construction used 8,000 tonnes of sandstone from nearby Kurraba Point, Neutral Bay. The tower itself had quarters for a garrison of 24 soldiers and one officer.
In 1913 a lighthouse beacon built in Birmingham, England, replaced the 10-inch gun on the roof of the tower. (edited from Wikipedia)
Fort Denison is now part of the Sydney Harbour National Park
New South Wales, Australia
Nikon D70 with Nikon 18-200VR
1/320s f/11 ISO200 | Raw
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