Fort Glanville Conservation Park

  • Toilets
  • Guided Tours
  • Public Transport
PDF Park Brochure
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Photo by Bridgette Doudy
Fort Glanville SA location map

Fort Glanville is one of the most complete nineteenth-century colonial forts in Australia. It is open periodically for tours and re-enactments, including drills, and cannon and rifle firing.

About

Fort Glanville Conservation Park represents a significant period in South Australia's European colonial history. The fort remains largely unaltered since it was built in 1880 to boost Australia's defence strategy. Visitors are treated to full historical re-enactments by members of the Fort Glanville Association, including military drills and cannon firing.

Opening hours

Open days and re-enactments

The fort is open the third Sunday of every month. 

From 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm, between September and May. 

Guided tours and historical re-enactments operate during these times.

Tours

The fort is open for tours every Tuesday. 

From 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Walk-ins are welcome and no booking is necessary for groups of less than 25.

Contact details

General enquiries 

Phone: (+61 8) 8336 0901

Group bookings 

Phone: (+61 8) 8264 4798

Getting there

Fort Glanville Conservation Park is located 12km north west of Adelaide. Access is via Military Road.

If you're in your own vehicle, you can find this park on the map.

There is also public transport to this park from the Adelaide city centre. 

Pets in parks

Pets are not permitted within this park. There are however, a number of South Australian National Parks where you can take your dog on a lead. 

Facilities

The fort can be hired for a variety of uses, including concerts and community activities. The parade ground and visitor centre (which has kitchen facilities) is also available for hire. 

Phone: (+61 8) 8336 0901

There are toilets, public transport and guided tours available within the park.

Useful information

  • Mobile phone coverage is good in most areas of the park.

  • Important: Collection of firewood within National Parks is prohibited.

Traditional owners

Aboriginal South Australians are the first peoples of our State and have occupied, enjoyed and managed these lands and waters since the creation. For SA's First Peoples, creation ancestors laid down the laws of the Country and bestowed a range of customary rights and obligations to the many Aboriginal Nations across our state. 

Aboriginal peoples' oral histories and creation stories traverse the length and breadth of Australia’s lands and waters, including South Australian Parks. These stories interconnect land and waters with complex meaning and values and hold great cultural significance. We recognise and respect Aboriginal people's ownership of their stories and that they hold rights and obligations to care for Country. It is through these rights and cultural obligations and a shared goal to protect the environment for generations to come that DEWNR is committed to meaningful collaboration and involvement with Aboriginal peoples in the management of our shared parks.

History

Fort Glanville stands as a monument to Australia’s colonial defence strategies. In the 1870's, fearing sea-based threats from Russia due to potential conflict between Britain and Russia, the Australian colonies planned coastal fortifications to protect major ports and coastal cities.

Three forts were planned for South Australia: Glanville (opened in 1880), Largs (opened in 1884) and Glenelg. The forts were to be connected by a road built behind the coastal dunes for military use - hence the name Military Road. A heavily armed gunboat (HMCS Protector), a torpedo station on Port River and signalling stations completed the plan.

Fort Glenelg was never built and within twenty years Fort Largs was upgraded, resulting in Fort Glanville becoming less important. Following Federation, Fort Glanville ceased to be operational. Since that time, Fort Glanville has served as a military detention centre, depression era accommodation, Boy Scout headquarters and, following its sale to the government, a caravan park. In the 1970s, its important heritage value was recognised. Once the caravan park was relocated, restoration work began and continues today.

Fort Glanville was constructed during the period 1878-80. It is a 'luntte' or crescent-shaped earthwork, reinforced by 160 cm of concrete and 60 cm brick retaining walls, affording both camouflage and protection. The front and sides of the fort were defended by a ditch, which was itself defended by a caponier (musketry gallery) at the north-east corner. The rear and southern walls were defended by the loopholed rear defence wall, barracks and stockade.

Expense Stores 

Ammunition for the 64 pounder guns was located in the expense store near each gun. Battery Two 10-inch guns provided the fort with formidable fire power, having a maximum of 6500 yards (6014 metres). The smaller 64 pounder guns, located on each flank, could engage targets 5000 yards (4550 metres) away, and supported the larger guns. By 1889 however, the battery was superseded by the more modern breech-loading artillery installed at Fort Largs. The southern 10-inch gun carriage has been re-created.

Loading Gallery

With their large carriages, the 10-inch guns were able to swivel, making it possible to load them in two minutes under the protection of the loading gallery. Ammunition in the form of 400 lb (182 kg) projectiles and 130 lb (60 kg) charges of gunpowder were raised to the loading gallery above the magazine by hoists. From here they were rammed by a mechanical loading system into the muzzles. The complete loading system has been re-created for the southern gun.

Magazine

The magazine provided storage for gunpowder and shells for the 10-inch guns.

The Caponier

The caponier served as an important defensive feature. Its covered passage gave access to the supplementary gunpowder stores and the side-arm and tackle store.

The Garrison

Between 1880 and 1882, the fort was staffed on weekends on a temporary basis by the South Australian Volunteer Artillery ‘B’ battery. In 1882, the South Australian Permanent Artillery became the colony’s first home recruited ‘regular’ force. With Fort Glanville as their base, their prime purpose was to defend the colony. Officers’ quarters were separated from the enlisted men in the barracks, as were their mess facilities. Accommodation was limited, and tents for volunteers were pitched outside the fort for weekend training camps.

See and do

Open days and re-enactments

This fort is open to the public on the third Sunday of every month, from 1:00 pm to 4:30 pm, between September and May.

Fort open days are an affordable and fun afternoon out for 'history buffs' and families alike. The Fort Glanville Historical Association members provide a unique and entertaining living history through uniformed re-enactments of military activities. Cover your ears and smell the gun powder smoke in the air during the cannon and carbine firing drills. 

Take your kids and watch them get put through their paces by the drill sergeant as he takes them through a mock traditional military parade. Don't forget your camera as this always proves to be entertaining viewing for parents and grandparents!

Learn about the history of the fort as you wander through the small museum at the fort entrance. See war relics, military equipment and historical photos of the fort as it once was. 

Tours

Tours are also run on these Sundays; however no booking is necessary, you also have the option to explore the fort and small museum in your own time.  

Fees apply

Tours

The fort is open for tours every Tuesday, from 9 am to 2pm. 

Walk-ins are welcome and no booking is necessary for groups of less than 25. The full tour of the fort takes approximately an hour and a half; shorter/longer tours are available to booked groups via arrangement. 

Volunteering

Fort Glanville is always on the hunt for new volunteers to help during re-enactments and open days. If you have a passion for military history or just want to get involved with your local community please don't hesitate to contact us. 

If you think you might be interested in volunteering opportunities within this park please contact our Volunteer Support Unit.

Bushwalking

There are no specific bushwalking trails within this park.

Safety

Fire

This park is closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.

Listen to the local area radio station for the latest updates and information on fire safety. 

Fire restrictions

  • Wood fires, gas fires and solid fuel fires are prohibited throughout the year.
  • Ensure you are familiar with the fire restrictions for this park.

Know before you go

Every national park is different, each has its own unique environment, it is important to be responsible while enjoying all the park has to offer.

Please ensure that you:

  • leave your pets at home
  • do not feed birds or other animals, it promotes aggressive behaviour and an unbalanced ecology
  • do not bring generators (except where permitted), chainsaws or firearms into the park
  • leave the park as you found it - place rubbish in the bins provided or take it with you
  • abide by the road rules (maintain the speed limit)
  • respect geological and heritage sites
  • do not remove native plants
  • are considerate of other park users.

  • Important: Collection of firewood within National Parks is prohibited.

Maps

Fees

Entry and tour fees

Open days and re-enactments

Entry fees include a guided tour and re-enactment.

Family - $25
Adult - $10
Child - $5
Concession - $5

Tuesday tours

Adult - $4
Group tour (only available via booking) - $6.50

  • Book now contact details and process.

Park pass

This park is not included in the park pass system. 

PDF Park Brochure