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Fort Denison's Martello Tower

Home > Sydney > Fun Things To Do | Historic Houses | Places of Interest | Tours
Published August 22nd 2016
Many Sydney-siders have sailed by Fort Denison on many occasions and admired it. But how many have set foot on the island or gone inside the Martello tower?

The Martello Tower was completed in 1857 using 8,000 tonnes of sandstone from nearby Kurraba Point. It was the last Martello tower built in the British Empire and the only Martello tower to have been built in Australia. The tower was largely obsolete by the time it was completed due to artillery developments.

The Martello towers armaments included three 8-inch (200 mm) muzzle loaders in the tower, one 10-inch (250 mm) gun on a 360-degree traverse on the top of the tower. Eventually, all the guns were removed, except for the three 8-inch (200 mm) muzzle-loading cannons in the gun room in the tower, which were installed before construction was complete. The width of passages within the tower are too narrow to permit these to be removed.

The centre of the tower marks one end of what is called the measured mile, the other end being the column in the water just off Bradleys Head. The distance between the two is precisely one nautical mile (1.85km) and the measure was used for speed trials for newly-built boats from 1875 to 1912.

The Martello Tower can only be accessed on tours run by the NPWS.

Tour Information

When: Tours depart daily. 11am-11.30am, 12.15pm-12.45pm, 1.45pm-2.15pm, 2.45pm-3.15pm.

Price: Adult $37.50 per person. Concession $33 per person. Child 5-15 years $29 per child. Children under 5 years free. Family of four $31 per person. Price includes tour and ferry transport.

Bookings: Book online, or phone 13000 PARKS (72757). Group tour bookings are available.
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Where: Sydney Harbour, New South Wales 2000
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