Guarding Sydney’s back door
Located to the south of Sydney, approximately 35 minutes drive from the CVD is a small, rocky island. Connecting to the mainland with an old wooden build, this island was once the main defensive deterrent against possible invasion.
In 1885 concerned British members of society thought an invasion by Russia was imminent. To ease their fears, they built Bare Island Fort to protect Botany Bay (then known as ‘Sydney’s back door’). The construction of a fort on the island would reduce the odds of an attack from this entry point.
Though bristling with guns, the fort was soon made redundant by advancing technology. By 1902 Bare Island was decommissioned and ceased to exist as a military fortification, with only a handful of military personnel manning the fort. In 1912, Bare Island became Sydney’s first retirement home for war veterans. These men had fought in the Crimea, Sudan and China campaigns. It continued to operate as a retirement home until 1963, after this the Randwick District Historical Society became caretakers of the island.
In 1967 it was passed onto the New South Wales Parks and Wildlife Service for use as a museum and tourist attraction. The Bare Island fort has now been declared a historic site. In recent years it has been used for all manner of purposes from wedding backdrops, functions and even used as part of the movie, “Mission Impossible 2”.
IMAGE CREDIT: Distan Bach and La Perouse Museum & Headland