Fort Dennison discussion
This is a discussion thread for the following file:
Sydney's Alcatraz - Fort Denison is a defensive facility occupying a small island located north of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney Harbour. Originally named Pinchgut (possibly owing to the poor quality and quantity of food given to imprisoned convicts), the island was used as a place of confinement for recalcitrant convicts during the early period of British settlement. The fortress, which features a distinctive martello tower, was built in the mid 19th century as a defence against a feared Russian invasion during the period of the Crimean War, and occupies the entire island. It is reputedly the last martello-style fortification built by the British Empire.
Pinchgut was actually a nautical term where the channel or 'gut' was constricted or 'pinched' by landform, which required the old sailing ships to tact much more quickly to pass by. It was a play on words by the old convicts as prisoners placed on the original rock island as punishment were only given bread and water. It was only used as confinement until 1796 when the body of Francis Morgan (hanged for the murder of a fellow convict) was hung on a gibbet at the summit of the island. His body dangled there for three years as a warning for other convicts!
The Island was cut down in the 1840s but the fort was not actually built until the 1850s, as GEHFileBot mentioned, due to the feared Russian invasion.
If you Google Earth visit Fort Denison have a quick look at our famous Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge a mile to the west.