This week, with the holidays approaching rapidly, it seemed the perfect time to examine one of the many islands which dot Sydney Harbour. The islands are popular places for people to visit, though of course not all are publicly accessible. Spectacle Island is one which can be visited, though as far as I could find, only by appointment.
Spectacle Island is one of 13 islands in Sydney Harbour, but originally, there were 14 islands dotted around our beautiful Harbour! Spectacle Island is, in fact, two islands in one! Originally, a narrow strip of shallow water separated the two smaller islands, but this was filled in to create the single island we see today. Then, between 1863 and 1865, a great deal of work occurred on the island, with the Colonial Government constructing a huge Powder Magazine. Previously, explosives had been kept on Goat Island, but the facilities there were, by this time, overtaxed and dangerous. In 1885 Spectacle Island officially became the armament depot for the Royal Navy and more facilities were built, including buildings for the handling and even making of ammunition and explosives! Just before World War 1, the island and its facilities were transferred to the new Royal Australian Navy, and the island played an important role in both World Wars. Then, in the 1960s the armaments were moved once again, and the island became the home to the Naval Historical Collection, which you can visit on tours or by appointment.