Ferry hop to Fort Denison Island

Discussion in 'Australia/New Zealand/South Pacific' started by NileGuide, Oct 5, 2011.  |  Print Topic

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    Fort Denison
    Sydney Harbour island Fort Denison has great historical military significance, reflecting an interesting past on a convict-built old stone fort. By Renate Ruge
    Catch the ferry or better still whiz over on a water taxi to the little island that floats in the heart of Sydney harbour for a grand way to spend a day out.
    A ten-minute ferry hop from Circular Quay and you’re there.
    Fort Denison’s 150-year history is a varied one, used as a fishing spot, defense structure, navigational guide, tide gauge station, weather station, time marker and now a restaurant and historic museum.
    The old fort in a painting
    After the First Fleet arrived in 1788, Governor Phillip renamed the land Rock Island, but locals always knew it as ‘Pinchgut’, as convicts were sentenced to weeks at a time isolated on the island with little bread and water.
    The fortification was completed in 1857 and named Fort Denison, after Sir William Thomas Denison, the Governor of New South Wales at the time.
    No one’s been held hostage at the old prison for years but you probably won’t want to leave especially the restaurant where the food and service stacks up with the best in town.
    Tour the Mortello Tower before sitting down to lunch on the forecourt. The cannon fires loudly at 1pm sharp to let nearby boats adjust their maritime clocks and signal time to dine. This comes from a long tradition of alerting ships to set their chronometers, which started in 1906. The one o’ clock firing of the gun was stopped during World War 11 to avoid terrifying Sydneysiders but resumed in 1986.
    Almost 360-degree views make this the perfect spot to relax and soak up a bit of Australian history while tucking into oysters topped with shallots, a steak worthy of soldiers and warm sticky date pudding. At ease!
    The one o'clock cannon

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