History and humpbacks on offer as Fort Scratchley reopens to the public

Immerse yourself in Newcastle’s military history and check out one of the best whale watching vantage points when Fort Scratchley reopens to the public on weekends from 4 July.  

Following the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, visitors will once again be able to explore the grounds of the historic Fort, which has been standing sentry over Newcastle since 1882. 

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said she looked forward to the site reopening. 

“It’s fantastic that both locals and visitors can once again explore one of Newcastle’s most iconic landmarks and learn more about the important role Fort Scratchley played in our city’s history,” she said. 

Access will be granted to the outdoor areas of Fort Scratchley, allowing self-guided tours around the barracks and above-ground defence structures, while visitors can witness the time-honoured tradition of the firing the gun at 1pm on weekends. 

The large grassed headland is also ideal for those wanting to enjoy a picnic or take advantage of the panoramic views of the ocean and harbour.  

Capacity limits will apply for those who want to visit the museum exhibition rooms, gift shop or onsite café, while guided tours of the historic tunnels and group bookings remain temporarily suspended.  

Newcastle Councillor Peta Winney-Baartz said the staged reopening of the Fort will allow visitors to access many of its unique experiences whilst ensuring the health and safety of volunteers and the public.  

“While it will be wonderful to visit the Fort, I remind visitors to continue to practise physical distancing and follow the signage, floor markers and direction of the dedicated volunteers from the Fort Scratchley Historical Society, who will be monitoring capacity to ensure it remains at a safe level, ” Cr Winney-Baartz said. 

Fort Scratchley will reopen from 10am to 4pm on weekends only, from Saturday, 4 July. General admission entry is free and no bookings are required.  

A range of enhanced hygiene measures are being implemented at the site, including touchfree hand sanitiser stations at entry points and increased cleaning regimes during operational hours.