75 years on: Community invited to Fort Scratchley commemorative event

30 May 2017

Fort Scratchley will host a free community event on Thursday 8 June to commemorate the shelling of Newcastle during WWII, 75 years ago to the day after the surprise Japanese attack.

Newcastle Under Attack: 75 Years Since War Came to Town will include a re-enactment of the wartime military engagement, including a simulation of the submarine attack and return-fire by the fort's guns.

The display will be followed by live music by John Schumann (Redgum) and the Vagabond Crew as part of an event to raise funds for the Fort Scratchley Historical Society.

"I invite everyone to come out and join us for this free family-friendly community event," said Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes. "Novocastrians treasure our Fort and we take pride in our military history, so this is a great opportunity to remember our forebears and their contributions during World War II.

"It is also an opportunity to recognise and support the fantastic volunteers of the Fort Scratchley Historical Society," added the Lord Mayor. "Society President Frank Carter and his team do an incredible job of providing public tours and building the Fort's Museum collection. Because of them, the Fort is open to the public six days a week and we are grateful for their dedication."

Novocastrian and Newcastle Herald journalist Scott Bevan will host the night and provide the audience with some context about the history of the Fort and the infamous 1942 attack.

In the early hours of 8 June that year, Novocastrians awoke to the sound of heavy shelling as a Japanese submarine I-21 rained down two dozen shells on the city under orders to hit the shipyards at Carrington.

The attack did not go unanswered, as Fort Scratchley's six-inch guns fired two salvoes at the attacking sub, becoming Australia's only coastal fortification to fire on an enemy Naval vessel.

All proceeds from the sale of food and beverage at the 8 June anniversary event will help support the ongoing work of the Fort Scratchley Historical Society, which includes maintenance of its guns.

Come along to the Fort, bring the family and learn more about this incredible chapter in local history while remembering the heroism of those who defended Newcastle.

Gates will open at 4pm, with the program commencing from 5pm.

WHAT: Newcastle Under Attack: 75 Years Since War Came to Town
WHERE: Fort Scratchley
DATE: Thursday 8 June 2017
TIME: Gates open at 4pm; program from 5pm