Written by SoudipJuly 31st 2014
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Bare Island Fort Historical Facts and Pictures
The Bare Island Fort is an island vanguard located 16 km south-east of Central Sydney, near the northern headland of Botany Bay. Planned as a defensive citadel to fend off a suspected Russian invasion, fortifications on the island began in 1881, under the direction of the colonial architect James Barnet.
The construction of the fort was supposedly completed by 1884 and four guns were also mounted on it. Records reveal that the iron casement for the main gun had to be barged to the island due to lack of a bridge. Thus, the bridge to the island was built sometime later after the fortifications, though the exact reason for the delay is not known.
Inside the Bare Island Fort
The barracks in the fort were built around 1890-91. On inspection it was discovered that inferior grade materials were used in the construction of the fort and the barracks were subject to substandard workmanship. This led to the resignation of James Barnet and a subsequent inquiry from authorities.
In 1905 the island was used by the Royal Australian Garrison Artillery for gunnery practice. By 1912 it was converted into a war veterans’ home – the first of its kind in Australia. In 1930, gun 3 was dismantled and prepared for sale. However, being too heavy to be hauled across the bridge, the gun was moved back to its original location.
Bare Island Fort Entrance Way
The fort housed a historical museum which was shut down in 1976 due to water leakage. The bridge was initially repaired before being completely replaced in 1986. By 1988, the Bare Island historic site was incorporated into the Botany Bay National Park.
In 1999 scenes for the movie Mission Impossible were filmed on the island. The bridge was damaged by one of the stunts but it was eventually repaired.