Just to the north-east of the Sydney centre, Garden Island formed part of the early defenses of the city to serve as a naval base and still does to a certain degree, with docking, training and administrative facilities.
There is a public access area with great views on the northern part of the island. You can also find the Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre here, which details the history of the navy with exhibits and artefacts.
Once a separate island, it has been joined to the mainland since the building of a dock connecting the two in the 1940s. It served initially as a vegetable garden for the crew and officers of the HMS Sirius of the First Fleet, the ships that came carrying prisoners of Britain to establish the Colony of New South Wales in 1788.
There are also sandstone fortifications remaining on the island, part of the network of fortifications that were built to help defend Port Jackson from attack in the 1800s. There is also a tunnel network that were built to move the defensive guns from one side to the other of the island.
Cruise ships now also dock here. Initially only used by them occasionally, there are hopes it will be on a more continual basis.
Here you will find numerous displays and exhibits that detail the history of the Australian navy, including the Battle of Sydney, which surprisingly, many Sydneysiders are not aware of.
You will also be able to see some beautiful boats that once served and artefacts that date all the way back to the early days of the colony. A must for history buffs, but also of interest to anyone connected to the sea.
Photo showing Garden Island. The city looms in the background. You can also spot the twin towers of St Mary’s near the centre of the picture, once a dominant landmark feature of the city skyline. Even Sydney Tower in the center now faces competition for being the tallest building in Sydney, though its shape will always be recognisable to Sydneysiders.
See the City Central Map Map of Sydney CBD.
Main Photo: Cunard’s Queen Mary leaves its berth at Garden Island on her last Voyage.
Search the Australia Tourist Guide