About Fort Scratchley
Fort Scratchley in Newcastle is a 19th century coastal defence battery and the only coastal battery in Australia to have opened fire on the enemy during World War Two.
The site upon which Fort Scratchley stands was originally an early coal mine and indeed one of the earliest such mines in Australia, being in operation from around 1801. The first defensive battery to be constructed here was an earthern battery named Fort Battlesticks, which was in place by 1928. However, the need for more robust coastal defence led to the construction of far more permanent fortifications, including Fort Scratchley, from 1876 to 1886. The fort was named for the British officer who oversaw the build, Lieutenant Colonel Peter Scratchley.
Over several decades the fort was upgraded and renovated several times, to ensure it was militarily viable. However, the fort would only open fire in aggression once, on the night of 7-8 June 1942, when the fort’s six-inch guns fired two salvoes at a Japanese submarine which had bombarded Newcastle. After the war the fort operated for several more years before being decommissioned in 1962 and closed ten years later. It now operates as a museum.
Today visitors to Fort Scratchley can explore the history of this coastal fortification as well as taking in the spectacular views on offer from this commanding position. Visitors can explore at their own pace or join one of the guided tours which go deeper into the facility.