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Fort Denison
Fort Denison
Shark Island
Goat Island

Sydney Harbour

Saturday, August 21, 2004
If you are a lover of water and picnics on secluded islands then you will want to island hop to these little gems.
Fort Denison

The Fort was known to the Aboriginal people as Mattewai (meaning small rocky island), or Mattenwaya, and then to Europeans as Rock Island (for obvious reasons) and from 1841 to 1857 it was known as Pinchgut (because of the starvation rations the prisoners had to face). Colonel Barney changed the name to Fort Denison in October 1857.

Originally the Fort was used to imprison and punish criminals from the time of the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788. By the 1840’s it was used to defend Sydney against possible attack by the Russians and by 1857 the fort was manned, including two ten inch guns and twelve 32 pounders.

The island is approximately 150 metres long by 40 metres wide. The walls of the fort are between 11 and 12 feet thick at the base and 9 feet thick at the top.

Fort Denison (named after the governor, William Denison) originally was a 15m high sandstone rock; the island was flattened to provide sandstone for Circular Quay. Fort Denison was finally completed in 1862 from distinctive sandstone quarried at Neutral Bay.

Martello Tower, a circular masonry fort for coastal defence, was completed in 1857 using 8 tonnes of sandstone quarried from Neutral Bay and is Australia’s only Martello Tower left.

Since the introduction of tours and the opening of the café in September 2000, almost 40,000 people have explored the island. The Fort has won merit awards from the National Trust and the Royal Australian Institute of Architects.

Generations of caretaker families were born, married and died on the island before it became part of Sydney Harbour National Park in 1994.

The Fort sits alongside the Opera House and is a recognisable icon of Sydney Harbour. It’s visited by more than 15,000 people from around the world every year.

Today the Fort still operates as a Harbour Navigation Facility, with tide gauge, navigation, channel markers, foghorn and beacon and as a modern museum and café.

3 tours available; Lunch & afternoon heritage tour or a Fort brunch tour which includes a delicious breakfast with view! Blue Rock café are going to put on a small lunch spread to film.

Shark Island

The name ‘Shark Island’ came about because the shape of the island on a map resembled a shark.

History shows it was known as Boambilly by local Aborigines and between 1880 and 1975 was used as a dog and stock quarantine, a public recreation reserve and a naval storage depot. And in 1975 became part of the Sydney Harbour National Park.

As of October 2003, on weekends only, Matilda Cruises make scheduled ferry trips to and from the island. 1.5 hectare island off Rose Bay and has toilet and picnic facilities.

At low tide there’s a small beach suitable for swimming and rock pools to be explored. Beautiful pine trees, large gassy areas, 5 picnic tables and the magical scenery of Sydney Harbour make picnicking a real family treat. There is a gazebo for up to 30 people too!

Shark Island is available for special events and can hold up to 500 people. Matilda Cruises can organise a Shark Island Picnic Pack priced at $20 / hamper and is suitable for 2 adults and 2 children. Includes; sandwiches, fruit, cakes, chocolates, cheese and crackers.


Sydney Harbour


Goat Island
Heritage Tour: $19.80 Adults, $15.40 Concession, Family (2A+2C) $61.60
Gruesome Tales Tour: $24.40 / person
Sunday Picnic Tour: $22 Adults & $18 Children, Family (2A+2C) $72 (bring your own picnic)
Private group bookings available at other times with 20 people minimum, 30 max.

Fort Denison
Lunch Heritage tour and Afternoon Heritage tour: Adult $22, Concession $18, Family (2A+2C) $72
Fort Brunch tour: Adult $47; Concession $43.

Shark Island
Return ticket to the island: Adults $16, Concession $14.50, Children (age 5-15) $13.50, Family (2A+2C) $53. Tickets include return ferry transport from either Darling Harbour or Circular Quay. Matilda Hamper for family of 4 $20.
Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.

More information

Goat Island
Heritage Tour: Wednesday (alternate weeks) 12.45-3.15pm, Saturday (alternate weeks) 12.45-3.30pm
Gruesome Tales on Goat Island: Saturday subject to demand, 5.45-9.30pm (winter)
Sunday Picnic Tour: Sunday11.30am to 3pm

Fort Denison
Sits alongside the Opera House, in Sydney Harbour
Lunch Heritage Tour: Daily 11.30am-3.15pm;
Afternoon tea tour: Saturday & Sunday 2.30pm-5.15pm (afternoon tours are available Monday-Friday subject to demand)
Fort Brunch tour: Saturday & Sunday 9am-11.45am

Shark Island
Just off Rose Bay.
Ferries leave Circular Quay at: 10.30am, 11.45am, 1.45pm, 3.30pm
Ferries leave Shark Island at: 12.30pm, 2.15pm, 4pm
Note: Ferry trip takes approximately ½ hour.

Goat Island, Fort Denison & Shark Island
c/o: Sydney Harbour National Park
Information Centre, Cadmans Cottage, 110 George Street, The Rocks
Phone: 9247 5033
Fax: 9241 3303

Yellow Water Taxis
Shop 50B the Promenade, King Street Wharf
Phone / Fax: 9299 0199

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