Fort Denison used to be a penal site at one point of time as well as a defensive facility located on a small island to the north east of the Royal Botanic Gardens. It is just a kilometre away from the Sydney Opera House in New South Wales. This island is also called Pinchgut Island.
The site has been managed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service since 1992 and has cost $ 2 million as far sa conservation & up-gradation is concerned. Origin Energy has made quite a significant contribution to this work as well. After publishing conservative plans, renovation once again commenced in 1999 & was finished by 2001.
The slipway has already been destroyed by rising sea levels & increased harbour traffic. The sandstone drinks salt down to the foundation of the fort as well. A $ 1.5 million rescue package was announced in 2007 by the government. Currently, For Denison is home for more than one hundred types of birds. It is currently a museum and tourist attraction. It is quite popular as a wedding location and for corporate events as well. The museum contains a history about the island right from aboriginal times.
Tourists can access the Fort by hopping on a ferry which leaves from Wharf 6 at the Circular Quay at 45 minute intervals on every day of the week. The landing fee is built into the price of the tickets. You will have to pay more for guided island tours though. All tours are conducted by the National Parks and Wildlife Services. The Harbour Navigational Facility is operated by them as well with beacons, foghorns, channel markers and tide gauges. There is a weather facility on the island as well which is run by the Bureau of Meteorology.
There is a custom on the island of firing a gun everyday at 1 pm. This started in 1906 to help sailors get their ships chronometers correct. This continued till World War 2 when it was feared that residents will get scared. The practice began once again in 1986.
Fort Denison has been used for a number of popular culture endeavors as well. It was the location for the filming of the Siege of Pinchgut in 1959. The island has also been used as the operations base for Neville Savage during the 6th episode of the TV series Mission Top Secret. It was seen a number of times in the TV series Water Rats as well. There was even a party on the island during one of the episodes of a show called End of the Line.
While some may consider a trip to this fort to be boring the fact of the matter is that it is a treasure chest for anyone looking to learn all they can about Pinchgut. All you have to do is keep your ears and your eyes open and you will learn things that you otherwise may not have believed