skip to Main Content

Fort Scratchley

About Fort Scratchley

Located in Newcastle East, a suburb of Newcastle, New South Wales in Australia, Fort Scratchley is a museum that was once a coastal defence installation. Built in 1882 as a precautionary measure against a potential Russian assault, the site’s guns remained unused until the shelling of Newcastle on 8 June 1942. It wasn’t until 1972 that the Australian Army vacated the premises.

Less than 1 km (0.6 mi) from the Newcastle central business district, Fort Scratchley is located on Flagstaff Hill, overlooking the Tasman Sea and the Hunter River. It is positioned between Newcastle and Nobbys beaches and accessed from Nobbys Road. Originally built as a coastal defence fort, it has a commanding position to guard the Hunter River estuary. In 2004, the site was closed for renovation with the aim of making it a major tourist attraction, but progress was hindered by rising costs due to vandalism and necessary decontamination. However, the Australian Government stepped in and funded the project after reaching agreements with Newcastle City Council in 2004 and 2007. Their increased funding of almost $10 million was to ensure the correct repair of the site, which is considered a significant place in Australia’s military history. The site reopened in June 2008, and by 2009, a museum on the premises was operational.

Fort Scratchley

What to do at Fort Scratchley

Visitors of all ages must explore the Fort, which now serves as a historical museum. During World War II, the guns at the Fort were fired only once when a Japanese submarine attacked Newcastle with approximately twenty-four shells. This made the Fort the sole coastal defence to engage in combat with an enemy naval vessel. The underground tunnels within the Fort are particularly intriguing to discover.

The site offers guided tours led by enthusiastic volunteers from the Fort Scratchley Historical Society who possess extensive knowledge about the place. Visitors can explore the Parade and Ceremony Grounds, galleries, and museum collections, while also having the opportunity to learn about the historic guns. Additionally, there is a shop available that sells ice creams, drinks, souvenirs, and gifts.

Fort Scratchley

One local company in Newcastle that is involved with this tourist attraction site:

Website: Newcastle Pergolas

Address: 3/82 Selwyn Street Merewether NSW 2291

Phone: (02) 4003 6075