2 visitors viewing the canon at Kangaroo Bluff Historic Site.
Kangaroo Bluff Historic Site (photograph: Joe Shemesh)

Kangaroo Bluff Historic Site

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​While the Kangaroo Bluff Battery was originally developed in the late 1800s to prevent enemy vessels posing a threat to Hobart, it now makes the perfect picnic location with views over the River Derwent, kunanyi/Mount Wellington and Hobart.

The appearance of Russian warships in the area in 1873 prompted the need for a third battery to support the existing Battery Point and Queens Battery. Perched on a steep bluff in the waterside suburb of Bellerive, construction of the Kangaroo Bluff Battery or fort, as it is also known, was a four-year process completed in October 1884.

The original site was surrounded by a moat and prickly hawthorn hedges as protection from enemies on foot. Below ground were stores and speaking tubes for communicating through the thick rock walls. Today, visitors can walk in the footsteps of the soldiers through the remaining passageways, with views to the river beyond.

History o​​f Kangaroo Bluff Battery​

Construction was carried out by the Public Works Department, at a cost of about $16,300. At that time workers were paid 50 cents per day. The opening shot was fired from the battery in 1884. Imperial troops were withdrawn from Australia between 1870 and 1901 and so each state had to provide its own defence force. For this reason the Kangaroo Bluff Battery was manned by the Tasmanian Artillery Company volunteers. 

The battery, or fort as it is sometimes known, was covered by a dry mound and surrounded by a wet moat. If the enemy managed to get past these they would encounter prickly hawthorn hedges on top of the moat walls. The Kangaroo Bluff Battery was manned until the early 1920s and during this time no shots were fired in anger. 

In 1901, after Federation, the Kangaroo Bluff Battery was handed over to the Commonwealth. In 1930 the Clarence Council took over the area for use as a public park. In 1961 the battery was considered obsolete and the Scenery Preservation Board acquired most of the battery. 

​The battery was declared as an Historic Site under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1​970 and is now managed by the Parks and Wildlife Service.