Note: Bare Island is managed by NSW National Parks – further details.
It was first described by James Cook and as the site where Joseph Banks recorded collecting shells in May, 1770. The island was fortified in 1880-1885 but was never used for the purpose it was built because the materials used rendered the fort unsound. Because of the scandal it became the subject of the first Royal Commission of Inquiry in the Colony. In 1912 it became a World War 1 veterans’ home. About 1963, the island came under the control of the National Parks and Wildlife.
Bare Island Fort is one of only two examples of an enclosed fortification in New South Wales, the other being Fort Scratchley at Newcastle. It was recommended by Sir W Jervois in 1877 when he advised the Colony on a co-ordinated defence scheme and its erection was soon after the colonies first became responsible for their own defence. Situated on a small island, it is a good example of late nineteenth century defence technology. It was designed by Colonel Scratchley, plans prepared by Mr Morell, CE and supervised by the Colonial Architect, James Barnet, who was also responsible for the La Perouse Museum. The fortifications were completed in 1885 and the barracks by 1890. The fortifications consist of five gun emplacements arranged symmetrically in an arc and linked by underground bomb proof passages. The whole fort is excavated into the sandstone of the Island. The barracks are two storey, of sandstone with cast iron columns to the upper verandah. Details on the Register of the National Estate and the State Heritage List.