2001 - 2010 in Review

2001 - On the 1st of October, the restored 80 pdr RML gun, (circa UK 1850) was fired for the first time in over 100 years to mark Australia's Centenary of Federation.

2002 - Dedication of Fort Scratchley to the serving and ex service men and women of Australia by the The Prime Minister, The Honourable John Howard, MP.

2004 - Fort Scratchley had been open to the public for some years. This included access to the tunnels. It was closed to the public for restoration by the Commonwealth Government in April when a grant of $5.6 million had been made for restoration works. The Maritime Museum that had been located within Fort Scratchley for some years was relocated to the Honeysuckle area.

2005 - 6 inch Mark VII BL guns were fired for special events such as the Queen’s Birthday, Australia Day, Mattara Festival, Anzac Day, Reserve Forces Day and other occasions such as a welcome to passenger cruise vessels entering Newcastle Harbour.

2008 - Posted Mon June 30, 2008 8:06am AEST on ABC local news Newcastle

"The historic Fort Scratchley has officially been handed back to the people of Newcastle in a ceremony at the refurbished site.

A military parade opened the ceremony and more than 2,000 people watched as the Commonwealth handed the site over to Newcastle council.

The fort has been closed to the public for the past four years while it underwent almost $12 million in upgrade works.

Newcastle Lord Mayor John Tate told the crowd the site has a rich history and should be preserved.

"The benefits of this facility as we know it now will not only respect the early history and heritage, it will not only respect the time when it was site of the first coal-fired lighthouse, it will not only be the recognition of the first mining venture, it will also be a great tourism magnet for our city," councillor Tate said."

2008 - Posted by the Newcastle Herald Monday June 30, 2008

"Guns Smoking, A Proud Old Fort Is Reclaimed For A City And Its People

By LISA BARRITT-EYLES

THUNDEROUS booms rang out as Fort Scratchley's guns filled the air with smoke to mark its long-awaited re-opening yesterday.

Large crowds gathered to watch the celebrations that included members of the Australian Defence Force, cadets, the Australian Army Band Newcastle and the Federation Guard.

Closed since April 2004, the heritage-listed site was once again open to the public after a $12 million refurbishment and the addition of a controversial multipurpose centre.

Charlton MP Greg Combet represented the Prime Minister at the ceremony in which the fort's ownership was transferred from the Commonwealth Government to Newcastle City Council and the community.

"Fort Scratchley is a reminder of the role that Newcastle has played in the defence of our nation," Mr Combet said.

On June 8, 1942, World War II came to Newcastle.

Fort Scratchley defended an attack by Japanese submarine I-21, which shelled Newcastle with 34 rounds. Fort Scratchley guns returned fire with four rounds, forcing the submarine to submerge.

Today, number three on the fort's gun crew, Grahame Berry, from Belmont, is responsible for firing the fort's guns. A Fort Scratchley Historical Society member, he said the fort helped keep history alive.

"Australians are all quite proud of their military history, by developing Fort Scratchley this way and doing re-enactments, we are showing people their heritage," he said.

Mr Combet and Newcastle Lord Mayor John Tate unveiled a plaque commemorating the handover."

June 2010 Fort Scratchley Attack Re-enactment

Fort Scratchley came under fire once again to mark the 68th anniversary of the Japanese submarine attack on Newcastle Harbour during World War II. This time however Newcastle was prepared with re-enactment of the attack due on Tuesday June 8, 2010. The re-enactment saw a 1939 WWII search light back in action, and the firing of the guns over Nobbys Beach.

Spotlight

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

The submarine attack on Newcastle Harbour occurred at 2.17am on June 8 1942. Official records state that 26 shells and 8 star shells were fired at Newcastle, while Fort Scratchley returned a total of 4 shells.

On the night of the attack Fort Scratchley Officers were forced to use a small search light to illuminate the enemy as the larger, more powerful search light had recently been replaced. It is widely believed that this caused a hindrance to the Officers’ ability to target the enemy.

The majority of the damage from the submarine attack was incurred at Parnell Place and the only reported injury was to off duty Fort Scratchley Officer Stanley Newton, who sustained a laceration to his face.

Life members

At he AGM held in September 2010 saw three new life members invested, namely Bill Hopkins, Carl Christie, and Len Young.

Life Members

Exhibition Project

DisplayStage1 - Room 1 covering the Period 1797 to 1881 and Room 2 covering the period 1882 to 1913.

Stage 2 - Room 3 will deal with the period 1914 to 1939 followed by Room 4 which will cover 1939 to 1945.

Stage 3 - At this point it is intended to develop and complete our firearms exhibition in the Small Arms Store.

Stage 4 - The fifth room will cover the period 1946 to 1972 and our final Room will illustrate activities on the site since 1973 to the present. Just when we complete the project overall is dependent on the availability of funding.