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Stop 2 – Outer Fort

Welcome to the second stop of In Defence of Sydney – An Interactive Walk of Middle Head / Gubbuh Gubbuh.

At this stop, you'll learn more about the historic Outer Fort. Listen to the short audio clip below or click here to read a transcript of this stop.

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    On target

    If you look closely, you can see numbers carved into some of the gun emplacements at the Outer Fort. These numbers relate to the elevation and helped the gunners to find their targets.

    Transcript for Stop 2arrow
  • You’re now at Stop 2 – the Outer Fort.

    This maze-like fortification was established in the 1870s to command the entrance to the harbour and provide an outer line of defence.

    The tunnels and gun emplacements of the Outer Fort were dug by hand out of solid sandstone.

    The guns in use here were moved into place by teams using only ropes and pullies. These guns weighed around 5 tons, so this was heavy work!

    The fortifications you can see now were modified around 1911 with some changes during World War II as guns were replaced, tunnels were cut into the sandstone and underground rooms were built to safely store explosives and ammunition.

    You can explore these ruins, including the control station that coordinated operations and the two gun emplacements facing the headlands. These were for the breech-loading, six-inch, Mark 7 guns. It took a team of up to 10 men to operate these quick firing guns.

    In over 150 years of military occupation, a gun was never fired in anger at Middle Head / Gubbuh Gubbuh. But the fortifications across the headland show how Australia reacted to international and regional threats both real and perceived.

    After the threat of war passed, the military used the Outer Fort for training until as recently as the 1970s.

    After this time, the old guns were removed and this part of Middle Head / Gubbuh Gubbuh became part of the Sydney Harbour National Park in 1979.

    Once you’ve finished exploring the Outer Fort, make your way to Stop 3 at the Inner Fort.

Head to Stop 3 – Inner Fort
Now that you've heard the story of the Outer Fort, head to Stop 3 – Inner Fort. It is located a few minutes' walk from here.
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