I’ve lived in Brisbane for nearly thirty years and never visited despite it being less than thirty minutes from home.
Built in 1880-1882 in response to a fear that a foreign colonial power such as Russia or France might launch a naval attack on Brisbane or its port, Fort Lytton is located at the mouth of the Brisbane River.
It was designed to deny enemy vessels access to the river and achieved this by a remote-controlled minefield across the mouth of the river, and four muzzle-loading heavy guns, later changed to breech feeding. The minefield was closed in 1908, but the guns continued in operation until 1938.
I’m told the fort is a typical nineteenth century garrison – a pentagonal fortress concealed behind grassy embankments – surrounded for greater protection by a water-filled moat.
Fort Lytton was a major training base for soldiers across the Boer War, WW1 and WW2.
My introduction to this fascinating slice of Brisbane’s military history was a recent evening performance at the Fort, “ A Lost Story From The Great War”.
This follows the true story of Brisbane born Raymond Stanley, a decorated war hero, who spent time at Fort Lytton before being shipped to Gallipoli, and later, to the Western Front.
Armed with lanterns for light and sound the audience participates in a guided tour throughout the historic fortifications, littered with theatrical re-enactments. Light and sound effects, with photos projected onto the walls of the fort, take you back to the Great War.
Interestingly Stanley dabbled in photography and many of his photographs are used during the theatre promenade experience adding to its authenticity.
I’m looking forward to returning in daylight and walking through the rest of the site and the Museum. I’m told kids love the Open Days when the cannons are fired.
One minor issue. Brissie is subtropical and after weeks which have been a mix of heat, humidity and rain the mosquitoes are rampant. So is my garden.
Up Next : My Saturday Night At Dutton Park Cemetery, Brisbane’s Oldest Boneyard. Yep, it’s been a bizarre weekend……..