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- This barren island fortress sits smack in the middle of Sydney Harbour. It’s the one you go right past whenever you catch a ferry from Circular Quay to Manly.
It’s forbidding and stark.
A relic of convict Sydney and the early days of the colony, the island has a spine-chilling history.
From the first days of the colony, it was used as a particularly nasty punishment. Convicts were left on the island in iron chains for a week or more with nothing other than bread and water, earning the island the name ‘Pinchgut’.
In 1796 the British authorities went one step further. They installed a hanging gallows.
Within months, they had put it to use. The first man hung there was a murderer, Francis Morgan. HIs body was left hanging on the gallows for 4 years, to be picked at by birds, until there was just a skeleton left.
It was a particularly vivid warning as the skeleton could be easily seen from the mainland and was intended as a deterrent.
Later in the 1850s, the distinctive Martello fort, gun batteries and barracks were built . Alarmed by the Crimean War, the fortress was part of a defence system to protect against possible invasion by the Russians.
Normally you can visit the Fort Denison and have lunch there but it is currently closed for maintenance on the seawalls and wharf and won't re-open for visits until the end 2022.Written 12 April 2022This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- Goat Island is a small island in Sydney Harbor, It was established in 1836, where it was used to house convicts and to quarry stone. Goat Island has some interesting relics. It also has a cafe, where you can get a cup of coffee and something to eat. Goat Island can be reached by ferry from Circular Quay, which includes a tour of the island. Goat Island is a small, but interesting island, it's worth a tripWritten 7 July 2022This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- 45 mins cruise ride away from Sydney CBD but a lovely small island with best view of Sydney Harbour Bridge, Opera house & Sydney skyline. Worth visiting for a small picnic and great place for snorkeling if interested.Written 16 February 2018This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
- The Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre / Museum located in the public access area of Garden Island is one of the city's best kept secrets. It's a short ferry ride from Circular Quay (as of Nov 2019, only open on Sundays due to building works). Entry is free. There's lots to see - both inside and outside of the main museum building. The exhibits are well laid out (telling the history of the RAN from its establishment to present times) and well signed. Highly recommended to visit (and quiet, given it's not a well known attraction)!
Tip, be sure to check out the view from the roof of the old signals building located at the top end of the gardens.Written 9 November 2019
- Scotland Island is a residential island not set up for the day tripper. But the ferry ride is one of the wonders of the world, for the price of a ferry ticket plus parking. Bring your dog: he won't mind that there's no cafe, public toilets or facilities. A local lady told us it's best to get off the ferry at Tennis Court stop, and get back on at Bell's Wharf. That was after we'd finished the steep and not scenic Bell's Wharf to Tennis Court pinch. Yes, you can bring dogs on the ferry. Another lady recommended that a good dog walk is to get off at the Hall's ferry stop, on the mainland, and walk 40 mins to the Lovatt's Bay terminal. There's apparently a dog park in Bayview where dogs can swim too. If you've read Susan Duncan's books set in the area, you will know it is doggie heaven!Written 19 August 2016
- Very poorly organised event. Waited forever to get on the ferry from city. Came down cats and dogs on way over. The organisers would of known about the predicted wet weather. No catering for this whatsoever. Little tents to fit 400 people out of the weather. We were drenched. Food was so badly organised. The tables with food were placed so close together you could not access the food. Cues everywhere getting soaked. Pathetic timber cutlery that snapped in half first use. The drink area was mobbed with no one or thing to organise cues. People just plonked all over the place waiting to get a thimble full serve of wine for $9. Such greed. Then at 9.30pm they ran out of soft drinks. Nothing for the non drinkers. Desert was a joke. They brought one platter of cakes out which disappeared in 2 seconds flat. Too bad for the others. They should of allocated a ticket for desert and this would prevent people swooping in taking handfuls. Welcome drink was gone when we got there. Too bad for us. I got the feeling this was organised by young people ie back packers that had no clue on how to organise and cater for 400 people. And all of this came at the privilege of paying $410. I was extremely embarrassed for all the foreign tourists attending this event. What sort of stories would they take home about this disastrous event. Only positive thing was the fireworks. And you could of seen them for free anywhere in Sydney. Go to another event where you are assured of value for money and not greed focused organisers. InWritten 12 January 2019
- Great for paddling! Not much traffic, no ferries, always calm in the water.
You can kayak, canoe, ski, row or SUP.Written 12 January 2018
- You need your own boat to explore here. Situated just off the M1(F3) north of Sydney and overlooking Brooklyn and Mooney Mooney.Written 24 February 2015
- We were able to have a quick look at Snapper Island due to a friend of ours who had formerly worked with the Sea Cadets in Sydney Harbour. We landed a boat on the island for a few minutes before being asked to leave quite pleasantly and then we were off to our next stop, around the harbor to Manly Beach.Written 16 June 2016
- We were on a ferry cruise to Parramatta, appreciating the beautiful skyline and gorgeous coastline of Sydney harbor and that of the suburban when I noticed many passengers alighted at the jetty of Cockatoo Island. There must be something fascinating here to attract visitors and we quickly made a prompt decision to alight at this island and postpone our river cruise.
Our decision was right. This island is a rare UNESCO World heritage site renowned for her historic heritage site as a ex-convict penal establishment between 1839 and 1869. Convicts were shipped here from Great Britain to be confined in solitary cells. The island is notably surrounded by shark infested waters which made it difficult for the convicts to escape. The convicts were forced to work in harsh conditions on the island sandstone quarries and as construction workers for the Fitzroy Dry Dock on the island. Many lived in extremely cramp and unhygienic conditions and many perished and died of infectious diseases as a result.
The island has a remarkable history as a shipbuilding and ship repair facility. Shipbuilding on the island began in 1870. During the First World War, it was the dockyard of the Australian Navy, and several slipways were constructed. As such, we observed there were steel beams, Turbine Shop and remnants of some of the heavy machineries in the Industrial Precinct and the Ship Design Precinct. The eerie Dog Leg Tunnel which was used to transport resources and used as a bomb shelter during the World War made me shivered as the cold wind stirred its way in the tunnel.
The island is small like that of Kusu Island in Singapore and is very walkable though many of the old prison cell buildings are on the upper side of a hill slope. The campsite allowed adventurers to stay overnight on the island. As I wandered around the island, I could literally hear the cries and groans of the convict ghosts and that of the aborigines who were the original inhabitants and forced to be deprived of their homes and incarcerated when the British colonialists subjugated the island under their control.
I am glad to visit this heritage site during my short 5-day stay here in Sydney.Written 29 September 2023
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