COVID-19: Updates

Last updated: 29 June 2020

Historic Fort Scratchely to reopen in time for Whale watching season 

Fort Scratchely gates will reopen to the public on Saturday 4 July, providing modified access to the historic site. The barrack grounds, including the galleries and shop, will be open on Saturday and Sundays (only), with social distancing to be practised.  

Visitors to Fort Scratchley will be able to witness the time-honoured tradition of firing the gun at 1pm on weekends. As part of the staged approach to reopening, other services, such as paid tours of the historic tunnels, events, and group bookings, remain suspended.  
 
Fort Scratchely will be staffed by dedicated volunteers from the Fort Scratchley Historical Society, who will be monitoring capacity at the site to ensure it remains at a safe level. 

For more information, read the Frequently Asked Questions below.  


What are the opening hours? 
Fort Scratchley will be open on weekends only, Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 4pm. 

Fort Scratchely will remain closed to the public during weekdays.  

Visitors are asked to practise social distancing and if you are feeling unwell please reschedule your visit. 


What do I need to know to plan a visit? 
General admission entry to Fort Scratchley is free. No booking is required.  

The external grounds, shop and museum exhibition rooms, are open. 

The onsite shop will be operational between 10am – 4pm on weekends only. Cashless payments are preferred. 

Please note that while Fort Scratchley can be accessed by people with a range of mobility issues, there is uneven ground on site. There is also a significant incline to reach the top of the site. You can find out more information on our Accessibility page. 

Public toilets will be open to the public, with additional cleaning regimes in place.  

There is limited public parking onsite.  


What experiences are there at Fort Scratchley? 
Fort Scratchley is arguably one of Newcastle’s most spectacular vantage points, showcasing panoramic views of the ocean and harbour.  

The large grassed headland is the perfect spot for a picnic, or for whale watching during the winter months.   

Visitors to Fort Scratchley will be able to witness the time-honoured tradition of firing the gun at 1pm on weekends.

The galleries are open, yet capacity limits apply. We ask visitors follow signage, floor markings and the direction of volunteers.  

Programs such as guided tours, events and group bookings remain temporarily suspended.  


What COVID-19 safety measures are in place? 
Fort Scratchley Historic Society have developed a COVID-19 safe plan, in conjunction with City of Newcastle. Volunteers will closely monitor the capacity levels of the indoor spaces and the comfort level of the public in the outdoor area.  
 
The following hygiene measures have been implemented: 

  • Touchfree hand sanitiser stations at entry points 
  • Additional signage and floor markers indicating entry and exit points, as well as social distancing  
  • Increased cleaning regimes during operational hours   
  • Monitoring capacity of the internal spaces, such as the galleries 

When visiting Fort Scratchley, we ask all visitors to help keep each other safe from viruses, please: 

  • Keep a distance of 1.5m between you and other people 
  • Clean your hands with soap and water, or hand sanitiser 
  • Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze 
  • Avoid close contact with anyone with cold and flu-like symptoms 
  • Stay at home if you are sick or have any flu-like symptoms