Located in the main channel towards the western end of the harbour, Snapper Island was originally a rocky outcrop but underwent flattening in the early 1930s.
Snapper Island Sydney Harbour Location & Map, NSW Australia
During this time, it was also increased in size through the process of land reclamation, with its shape now resembling a ship. The island’s main history revolves around the island being used as a training base and its conversion to a museum.
During the First World War, the island was used as a dockyard for the storage of ship components and iron parts. A few years later, the island was leased to provide space for training. It was during this time that the island was cleared, flattened and land reclaimed to increase its size. An aerial view of the island shows that the stone sea walls are shaped like a ship whose stern faces the nearby Cockatoo Island and the bow points to the suburb of Drummoyne.
In the years that followed, buildings were constructed, all of which were designed based on the layout of a ship. These structures included a signal station, wharf and other key buildings, which are still present today. Two cabbage tree palms were also planted and had since become main landmarks on the island.
Snapper Island was used as training grounds for the navy at the start of the Second World War, with different troops using it during this period. Three years after the Second World War ended, a museum was established on the island and its operations overseen by the Snapper Island company. At the time, it was suggested that the income earned would be channelled towards maintenance.
The museum first opened its doors to the public in 1960. The museum has thousands of items across its different collections, all of which could be traced back to the country’s rich naval history.