Located on the tip of Bennelong Point (where the Sydney Opera House now stands). A 130-foot square stone fortress, with castellated battlements and a sea wall that was washed against at high tide. The summit of the terreplein was 22ft above the the high water mark and the battery consisted of fifteen pieces of ordnance: ten 24-pounders and five 6-pounders.
Construction began in December 1817 [The foundation stone was laid on 17 December 1817; see Sydney Gazette 20 December 1817]. Three years later Francis Greenway promised completion in five weeks from 24 November 1820 (see Macquarie Journal A772 p.150) and it was completed in February 1821.
The fortification had a two-storey tower in the middle enclosing a guardroom and storehouse. The tower was 90 feet in circumference while underneath there was a powder magazine capable of storing 350 barrels of gunpowder. The tower was designed to provide accommodation for a small military detachment with stores for the battery. One commissioned officer and twelve men could be quartered there; with cover for no more than six additional men. The entrance featured a drawbridge (on the landward side) over a small channel leading to a gate beneath the tower.
The stone was obtained from the Domain by convict labour and the stonemasonry was typical of the best work in Macquarie's time.
Three sides of the fort square faced towards the harbour. One 24-pounder was placed at each angle of the fort on a platform of earth ('en barbette') and the small circular bastion at each corner of the fort provided space for one traversing gun. The walls of the north battery were 9 feet thick on its bastions and 6 feet on the terreplein and there was provision in the triple openings of the parapet (embrasures) for three guns. The walls of the south bastion were 12 feet thick and about 9 feet at the embrasure.
While Francis Greenway may have been commissioned to carry out the work, the engineer and draftsman responsible for the design is unknown. Until he was superseded by Major Druitt (48th Regiment) in December 1817, Captain J. M. Gill (46th Regiment) was military and road engineer. However, at the formative design stage Macquarie also had the assistance and services of Lieutenant John Cliffe Watts (46th regiment) [stationed at Parramatta] in preparing the plans of public buildings. Consequently, it is quite likely that Watts was the principal draughtsman for the design of Fort Macquarie.
The first salute from the new battery was fired in early February and was recorded in the Sydney Gazette on 10 February 1821.
Fort Macquarie was demolished in 1901 to make way for the new electric tramway sheds. The new building was constructed of red brick and sandstone with a facade adorned with crenellated towers, parapets and convex bay walls. It was named the Fort Macquarie Depot and opened on 10 August 1902. It was demolished in 1959 to allow for the construction of the Sydney Opera House.
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