Time Gun Firings

Step back in time for a seafaring tradition

Fort Scratchley has reinstated the time honoured seafaring tradition of firing a gun at 1pm to coincide with the Customs House time ball drop.

The time ball and gun firing at precisely 1pm was used in ports around the world in the 19th century to allow sea captains to adjust their navigation instruments.

Newcastle is one of the very few ports around the world that have the capability of firing a gun in tandem with the drop of a time ball.

This firing is sponsored by Newcastle Ports Corp and Hunter Water. This tradition is best viewed from the parade ground at Fort Scratchley with Customs House in the background.

Demonstration Schedule

  • 1pm, Daily | Firing of time gun (weather permitting)
  • 12pm and 1pm every 3rd Sunday | Mark V11 firing
  • Wednesdays | Morse Code demonstrations

Please call Fort Scratchley 4929 3066 to double-check the Fort is open if in any doubt.

Australia Day 2021

Join us at Fort Scratchley on Tuesday 26 January for the firing of the guns at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.

The highlight of the day will be the 1pm firing by 24 front-line COVID medical staff.

City of Newcastle RSL Pipe and Drums will perform at the flag raising ceremony prior to the 11am firing.

Tunnel tours will not be available on the day however all exhibition rooms will be open, and guests can also enjoy Morse code demonstrations.

Food and drinks will be available for purchase from a coffee cart and Lions Club sausage sizzle.

Entry is free, and guests will be required to scan a QR code upon entry.


Firings are 1pm every day the Fort is open.