BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW
For a relatively small island, Goat Island has had a big history. It started out as a sandstone quarry in 1831 and then, because officials became concerned about the amount of military explosives being stored on the mainland, a powder bunker was built there to house the dangerous material. You can visit this bomb-proof structure today. The island would go on to serve as the home to the water police, who built a water ditch to separate themselves from the rest of the island. During the 1800s another magazine was built, but in 1900, all explosives were removed from the island. It then served as a shipyard in the early 1900s until it was handed over to the National Park Service. Since then, it’s truly stepped into the spotlight, serving as the setting for popular Aussie mid-90s TV show, Water Rats and hosting rock concerts from the likes of Midnight Oil, Green Day and the Foo Fighters, who played a secret show there in March 2011 to an audience of just 300 people. One of the most intriguing legends about the island is that it was used in 1900 as a bacteriology station to conduct research into the bubonic plague that was afflicting the nearby Rocks district. But don’t worry, even if it’s true, there’s no trace of any nasty bugs there today!
MORE ABOUT THIS EXPERIENCE
Along with Alcatraz and the Tower of London, Sydney has one of the world’s most intriguing convict histories and you’ll get to experience it firsthand.
Your journey begins as you board a beautifully restored historic ferry from the 1920s for a cruise to Goat Island--a Harbour destination rarely accessed by visitors. On your way, you’ll get to see Sydney’s grandest “castles”--stunning luxury homes owned by the rich and famous, including the most expensive property in the country.
Then, you’ll disembark on Goat Island where you’ll be regaled by tales of harsh conditions, daring escapes and tragic deaths as you wander among the historic buildings--all constructed with the help of convict labour.
After all that traipsing through time, you’re sure to have worked up a mighty appetite so you’ll particularly welcome the rich barbecue lunch that includes fresh king prawns, delicious chicken drumsticks, roast rare beef, double smoked ham off the bone, and vegetable frittata (on request) with a range of fresh salads. and more. Wash it all down with a complimentary glass of champagne, wine or a soft drink while soaking up the peaceful and private setting and reflecting on the Harbour and its captivating past.