Fort Lytton is a pentagonal fortress, built near the mouth of the Brisbane River (map after break), erected in 1881 to aid the controlled river mines in defending the Port of Brisbane until the end of the Second World War. It was Brisbane’s front front line of defence and is regarded as the birthplace of Queensland military history. The fort is surrounded by a water-filled moat and connected by underground passages (although these underground passages do not appear to be visible anymore). After the Second World War the fort was no longer deemed ‘useful’ and as such fell into a state of disrepair, until Ampol took over the site in 1963 and later became a national park in 1988.
By the turn of the century the Fort consisted of six gun pits and two machine gun posts. The arsenal included (Most of which can be seen at the Fort either in their original placing or in the historical museum – some of the larger fixed emplacements are replicas now):
- 2x 6 inch BL 5 ton Armstrong guns
- 2x 6 pounder QF Hotchkiss guns
- 1x 4 barrel 1 inch Nordenfelt machine gun
- 1x 10 barrel 0.45inch Nordenfelt machine gun
- 2x 64 pounder RML guns
The Fort is open every Sunday and on public holidays from 10am until 4pm. Entry fee is $4.50 for adults (includes a tour or self exploration if you wish), but is a small price to pay for a good afternoon of historical exploration. Additionally (unconfirmed if this is every Sunday or only during certain times throughout the year) they fire one of the cannons three times during the day. When I visit the site the times posted were 11am, 1pm and 3pm. If you’re a budding photographer I would suggest arriving just prior to 11 am to catch the first cannon firing and then after spending the next two hours wondering around and having a bite to eat (great spot for a picnic lunch – portable bbq’s are welcome) it will be time for the second firing. You might be surprised how quick the firing happens, I certainly was!
Update: I’ve been told that they fire the cannons the first Sunday of every month.
Historical information from: http://www.epa.qld.gov.au/parks_and_forests/find_a_park_or_forest/fort_lytton_national_park