Having been in existence since the late 1800's, Fort Scratchley has long been an integral part of Newcastle's cityscape; first as a defensive installation, and afterwards as a quality piece of history that's been relentlessly restored and maintained by passionate local volunteers. Initially built as a response to potential international threats theoretically wanting to steal the region's rich coal deposits, the Fort now exists as a hub for soaking in history while enjoying some wonderful coastal views as well. It's an installation of considerable size, with the fort featuring eight individual rooms complete with displays and details on how each performed its function. Visitors to the fort can either walk around themselves - it's well curated for self-wanderers, with multiple informative plaques detailing each of the fort's buildings and other tidbits - while guided tours are also available for an additional fee that allow access into its tunnels. These tours are conducted by knowledgeable and friendly guides who help provide a great deal of background and insight into Fort Scratchley's history and past operations and are well worth the investment. Even a visit to take in the quite spectacular views of the beachfront and further down the coast makes a trip here a must-do in Newcastle.