Sydney's military past gets $10 million facelift

Sydney Harbour National Park's historic military fortifications at Middle Head and Georges Head are set to get a $10 million revamp conserving their history and providing the public greater and safer access.

Gun emplacement, Middle Head, Sydney Harbour National Park

Environment Minister Matt Kean said the project will also include a new 3–kilometre walking track showcasing the breathtaking views from the headlands on Sydney Harbour.

"These works at Middle Head and Georges Head will focus on stabilising the nationally significant structures which represent the most diverse collection of defence sites in Australia, while ensuring public safety," Mr Kean said.

"The new walk will also connect to the Sydney Harbour Scenic Walk, itself part of the greater Manly to Bondi Walk, and showcase Australia's most diverse collection of fortifications dating from 1801 to WWII."

This project forms part of the larger NSW Government commitment of $257 million to implement the largest capital investment in national park visitor infrastructure in its history.

Member for North Shore, Felicity Wilson, said we are fortunate to have such significant military history in our own backyard, and we are following through on our commitment to preserve this history for the future.

"This investment in Middle Head walking tracks will connect our harbour foreshore benefiting locals, and drawing people from across Sydney to enjoy the natural environment, military history and indigenous heritage," Ms Wilson said.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is constructing the 3–kilometre walking track to connect the headlands to adjoining parklands and is providing interpretation to assist visitors in exploring and learning about the area's history, Aboriginal, natural and cultural heritage.

Other works will also include new viewing platforms and seating areas which will provide walkers an opportunity to rest and take in the scenic beauty of the harbour.

All works are expected to be completed by June 2022, with sections of the new track by October this year.

Visitors are encouraged to visit project webpage for alerts on visitation and details.

Key Facts

  • The National Parks and Wildlife Service is commencing construction of a new 3km walking track between Middle Head and Georges Head.
  • This will provide the missing link within the headlands and enable visitors to experience the Sydney Harbour coastline and learn more about the significant military fortifications along the route.
  • The defence heritage spans the period 1801 to the Vietnam War and the structures from different periods shows the development of defence technology over the course of 2 centuries more comprehensively than anywhere else in Australia
  • The restoration work will focus on the twin 6-pounder gun emplacement and observation post which were a key component of Sydney's WW2 defences, including mounting of an original smooth-bore muzzle loading cannon on a reconstructed gun carriage.
  • Other works include painting of the Barracks and Sergeant Majors Quarters, and restoration of the stonework on the defensive ditch.
  • Planning and design has been undertaken in close consultation with key stakeholders and adjoining land owners, including the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, the local Aboriginal community and the Headland Preservation Group.
  • More information on the Manly to Bondi walk can be found here: Bondi to Manly Walk