Thrupp's Quarry, Kurraba Point

8,000 tonnes of sandstone was quarried between 1860 and 1862 and used to construct the walls and Martello tower of Fort Denison. The quarry site, now Kurraba Point Reserve in Cremorne, was later used as a ferry base for the Port Jackson and Manly Steamship Company and is now a landscaped park.
UBD Map 8 Ref D 14

Seven decades of colonial settlement were to pass before Pinchgut Island off Mrs. Macquaries Point was changed from a jagged rocky outcrop in the middle of Sydney Harbour into the island fortress we see today. Used by the early colonial Governors as a place of solitary confinement for particularly unruly convicts, it became part of Sydney's defences when in 1855 it was razed to sea level and its gun batteries, barracks and Martello tower were built by the Chief Engineer of Public Works, Colonel Barney. It was he who suggested that the fort be named after the Governor, Sir William Denison.



The tower and buildings were constructed from 8,000 tonnes of sandstone quarried nearby at Kurraba Point, Neutral Bay. The fort's armoury includes two 10-inch guns and ten 8-inch 32 pounders, three of which were mounted in the tower's gunroom before it was finished and cannot be removed unless the tower is first dismantled around them. Though never involved in a military conflict, the fort was hit by a naval shell fired from the American cruiser USS Chicago during a raid on Sydney Harbour by Japanese mini-submarines in May 1942 during World War II. A chip on the stonework of the tower is a reminder of the incident.

Fort Denison incorporates one of the last Martello Towers to be built in the world, following their proliferation in southern England after the design's defensive capabilities had been proven at Cape Mortella, Corsica, in 1794. From the time of its completion until the present day, a gun has been fired at 1 pm each day to which mariners may set their ship's chronometers. It is also used to record tidal movements in Sydney Harbour.

On 2 May 1814, Kurraba Point was included in the 700 acre land grant that was given to Lieutenant Alfred Thrupp as a wedding gift. At that time the area, which included most of what is now Neutral Bay and Kurraba Point, was called Alfred Thrupp's Farm or 'Thrupp's Acres'. Sandstone was quarried from what is now Kurraba Point Reserve from around 1850 to supply stone for the construction of Fort Denison as well as ballast for ships returning to England and for local building. Through these times, the point was known as Thrupps Point and Ballast Point.[

Patrick Hayes acquired a parcel of this land, where he established a soap and oil factory. The Port Jackson and Manly Steam Ship Company purchased Hayes' former oil factory in 1883 and they set up a depot and engineering works there. In 1936 there was a tragic fire at that depot when the ferry Bellubera caught fire and two men were killed. The historic Kurraba Point workshops were closed by the end of 1964; the State Government purchased the Kurraba Point site and in 1974 the site was cleared and the present Kurraba Reserve was created.


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