Flagstaff Hill Fort

Check out the three-gun battery and take photos from a scenic vantage point at this heritage-listed military fortification, which was built to deter enemy ships in the 1890s.

Flagstaff Hill Fort, also known as Stockade Point or Signal Hill, is an important landmark in Wollongong’s early military history. Built in the late 19th century as a first line of defense against a potential Russian attack, the fort presents a snapshot of the tensions and military technology in New South Wales at the time. Examine the fort’s battery of beautifully restored cannons and see where the fort’s disappearing gun was formerly installed.

Stroll around the grassy lawns of Flagstaff Hill Park and climb the gently inclining hillside that leads up to the fort. You’ll see the fort’s three 68-pounder guns, which point out toward the ocean waters. These cannons were installed in 1881 to defend Wollongong’s harbor. It was soon realized that the three-gun battery would not be a sufficient deterrent to enemy attack, so a deep circular pit was dug in 1890 to house a breech loading hydro-pneumatic disappearing gun.

Today, you can see the circular concrete pit embedded in the hillside. Tunnels connected the pit to the underground cartridge and shell stores installed within the hill. The gun emplacement was intended to be powerful and precise enough to sink a ship from Port Kembla in the south to Bulli in the north. Check out the entrance to the fort, which is located in a brick wall set into the southern side of the hill.

Continue your walk around the site to find interpretive markers and informative plaques. Looking out from the heritage emplacement, you can see sweeping views of Wollongong Harbour and City Beach. See the historic structure of Wollongong Head Lighthouse, which has beamed its light out to sea since 1936.

You’ll find several cafés and restaurants fronting the beach and the harbor at the bottom of the hill. Flagstaff Hill Park is accessible via a loop road and there is a free parking lot near the fort site. Flagstaff Hill Fort is less than a 10-minute drive from Wollongong’s city center and can be reached by bus. It is free to visit at any time.