Fort Queenscliff in Victoria, Australia dates from 1860 when an open battery was constructed on Shortland’s Bluff to defend the entrance to Port Phillip Bay.
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The Fort, which underwent major redevelopment in the late 1870s and 1880s became the headquarters for an extensive chain of forts around Port Phillip Heads.
Its garrison included volunteer artillery, engineers, infantry and naval militia and it was manned as a coastal defence installation continuously from 1883 to 1946. The other fortifications and armaments around the Heads were completed by 1891. This made Port Phillip one of the most heavily defended harbours in the British Empire.
It is claimed that the first British Empire artillery shots of World War I were fired when a gun at Fort Nepean fired across the bow of the German freighter Pfalz, as she was attempting to escape to sea. The orders to fire came from Fort Queenscliff. It is alleged that the same gun, with a different barrel, also fired the first Australian artillery shot of World War II.
By 1946 coastal artillery was outmoded and the Forst became home of Army’s Staff College.
After the three Service Staff Colleges were combined in Canberra, it became the base for Army’s Soldier Career Management Agency in 2001.
With over 150 years of Australia’s heritage on display, For Queenscliff is one of Victoria’s most important historic sites and one of the largest and best preserved forts in the country.
Enjoy the rare opportunity to tour a 19th century Coastal Artillery Fort which is an operating Australian Army base.
Amongst the fascinating artefacts and historical objects is the opportunity to try on uniforms from different moments in time.