In 1788, the convict Thomas Hill was rowed out to a 49 foot high sandstone islet in the middle of Sydney harbour. He was left there for a week in irons, subsisting on bread and water until he caught sight of the dinghy that was to bring him ashore. On his return, it’s said that folk took one look at Hill’s emaciated frame and a wily character christened the island Pinchgut.
Hill fared better than Francis Morgan, who was executed for murder on the same island eight years later and hung in chains in a gibbet. He apparently commented to the hangman that the harbour views were the best he’d seen. Morgan’s skeleton was still hanging there four years later.
In 1839 two American warships entered the harbour and circled Pinchgut Island. This friendly visit threw the colony into disarray. If it was so easy to enter the harbour undetected, a defensive fort was needed.
Construction was slow. The sandstone islet was levelled by convicts, who quarried it to construct nearby Circular Quay, then gradually the fort took shape. It was finally completed in 1857. Named Fort Denison after the governor of NSW, it featured a distinctive Martello tower – the only one ever built in Australia and the last one constructed in the British Empire. Its round structure and thick high walls made the site perfect for a single piece of artillery. Unfortunately, by the time the fort was finished there had been great advances in rifled artillery which made the garrison rather useless. Despite its large muzzle loaders and guns the areas were too cramped inside to load them quickly and the openings in the battlements too small to allow effective targeting.
It is now a national park. When I was researching this post I immediately thought of the new ferries ordered for Sydney that could not fit under certain bridges and the brand new trams that are already cracking.
(Image c/- wikipedia)
May be an image of monument and body of water