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The First Shot Commemoration

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Between 2014 and 2018, Australia will commemorate the ANZAC Centenary, marking 100 years since our nation’s involvement in World War I.

The first shot of the British Empire was fired from Coastal Artillery Gun Emplacement 6 located at Fort Nepean, on 5th August 1914 at 12:45pm, just 3 hours 45 minutes after war was declared in London. The shot was fired in order to prevent the German merchant vessel SS Pfalz from escaping Port Phillip to the open sea. The shot was successful – the Pfalz surrendered.

Of all the hundreds of millions of rounds of calibres that were fired over the next four long, hard, sad years by the member nations of the British Empire, in a war whose grim ferocity consumed and affected so very many Australian lives, the shot fired from Fort Nepean was the very first.

Fort Nepean was a critical part of Victoria’s defences from the 1878 until 1948. It was the largest and most heavily armed installation in the network of fortifications around the entrance to Port Phillip, and today remains an outstanding example of the evolution of gun technology and Australia’s early defence strategies.

To coincide with this anniversary, State Government, through Parks Victoria and Veterans’ Affairs, has completed the first stage of a $350,000 visitor experience improvement program at Point Nepean that will ensure record of our military history is not lost, and provide new ways for current and future generations to connect with this special place.   It has also enhanced the prominence of Gun Emplacement 6 to fully appreciate and commemorate its role in Australia’s First World War history. 

The improvement program elements completed to date includes: 

  • Minor landscaping and maintenance works at Fort Nepean;
  • Upgrade of the interpretation signage in the western section of the park from Gunners Cottage and beyond; 
  • New interactive sound displays at Fort Nepean that recreates the original atmosphere of this location during its operation;
  • A ‘commemorative edition’ self- guided brochure for the western tip of the park; and 
  • A new kids self discovery trail activities.

Parks Victoria also acknowledges the support of the Nepean Historical Society towards this program.  The final stage of the program, which will include lighting enhancements in the tunnels and educational resources, will be completed by ANZAC Day 2015.

 

Commemorative Event – presented by the First Shot Committee

A commemorative event was also held at the park on Tuesday 5th August 2014.  To view footage of this event go to www.thefirstshot.com.au.

 

Further Information

Visitor experiences