Opinion: Treasure with a view

ARGUABLY Newcastle's most spectacular vantage point, overlooking the Hunter River Estuary, coastline and Nobbys Headland, Fort Scratchley Historic Site is one of our heritage treasures.

Listed as part of the Coal River Precinct on the State Heritage Register, responsibility for the fort was transferred to Newcastle City Council from the federal government in June 2008.

The council is responsible for protecting the site's heritage values and ensuring its potential is "used" to its fullest.

Last week the council adopted a new site plan of management which sets a clear direction for the fort over the next five to 10 years. It reconfirms the fort's Historic Site Heritage Management Plan 2008 and ensures its protection in future.

Signal Hill [later Fort Scratchley] was the site of Australia's first European coal mine as well as a coal-fired navigation beacon.

A strategic fort for more than 150 years, it is Australia's only coastal fortification to fire on an enemy vessel; it fired two salvoes at a Japanese submarine during World War II.

Fort Scratchley Historical Society has managed daily operations for more than 20 years.

Visitors take guided tours, visit the fort's museum and experience re-enactments from when it was an operational fort.

The Queen's Birthday weekend coincides with the anniversary of the 1942 attack and on Monday, June 9, the fort has activities organised to recognise this occasion.

For more details, visit fortscratchley.com.au.

Newcastle lord mayor Jeff McCloy

Newcastle lord mayor Jeff McCloy