Or so we tell people. That’s Fort Denison, in the early days of the colony a punishment island nicknamed “Pinchgut” and then in the 1850s the fort was built to defend Sydney Harbour against a Russian invasion. Something to do with the Crimean War, I think.
Well no Russians came.
But today Fort Denison really is under siege: Fort Denison to be protected against rising sea.
The historic Fort Denison in Sydney Harbour will be restored to improve the structural base of the fort, which is is being eroded as a result of changing sea levels.
The New South Wales Government is investing $1.5 million to replace the sandstone blocks around the base of the fort.
Restoration work will begin next week and will take up to 12 months to complete.
New South Wales Minister for Environment Phil Koperberg says the restoration work will ensure future generations can visit the heritage-listed site.
“It is structurally sound but unless some work is done now, then ultimately given the weight of the fortification, which is over 150 years old, then ultimately these lower block of sandstone will give way as a result of constant erosion,” he said.
“This work is designed to prevent that from happening.
“It [the work] won’t change the look because what the work that will be carried out comprises is the replacement of those huge sandstone blocks which are at the very base of the fortification and most exposed to salt and wave action and rising water levels.”
This morning’s Sydney Morning Herald takes up the story:
…The historic building is falling victim to harbour waves that are eroding its foundations, and its sandstone walls are absorbing salt from rising seas…
Although the fort has had repairs before, none of those efforts matched the scale of this project, said the Minister for Climate Change, Environment and Water, Phil Koperberg.
Sea levels on the site have risen by 10 centimetres in the past 100 years, exposing more and more of the fort’s porous sandstone to the elements. And with the ocean projected to rise 100 centimetres in the next 100 years, large-scale work was needed, Mr Koperberg said. “We don’t want this icon to be the first victim of climate change.”…
But for others, much more serious…