History & Education

Fort Scratchley History

Fort Scratchley is situated on the eastern end of Newcastle on the site originally named Braithwaite’s Head by Lieutenant John Shortland. Convicts created Australia’s first coal mine here in 1801.

To protect the coastline in the event of an attack in 1828 an earthern battery named Fort Battlesticks was constructed, and the site, became known as Signal Hill.  Further fears of an enemy attack saw a permanent facility completed and it was renamed Fort Scratchley after Lieutenant Peter Scratchley who was responsible for planning the permanent facility.

Fort History

The headland known as Fort Scratchley has long been associated with the history of Newcastle and the strategic importance of the hilltop overlooking the harbour was recognised as early as 1804.

Historical Society

The Fort Scratchley Historical Society is a non-profit organisation and is supported by dedicated members from the general public.


Fort Scratchley offers a unique educational experience for students to learn about Australia's involvement in WW11.

Museum Rooms

There are five Museum Rooms at Fort Scratchley for visitors to explore. Entry is free.

Fort Management

The Fort Scratchley Historic Site Plan of Management was adopted to conserve and promote the cultural significance, community use and park values of the Fort Scratchley Historic Site.