The History and Wildlife of The Gap

The gapSet on the South Head Peninsula to the east of Sydney City, The Gap is an impressive ocean cliff. Rising up from the surrounding landscape, it looks out over the Tasman Sea and it proves to be a popular destination for tourists.


The History of The Gap
The Gap was originally owned by the Birrabirragal Aboriginal clan, who made up the wider community of the Darug people.


It wasn’t until 1788, when the First Fleet arrived from Europe, that its potential was realised. After settling, the British fleet set up a makeshift signaling station on the ridge right above The Gap. Its purpose was to give warning signs to the colony of any ships that were approaching across the Tasman Sea. The station was declared a formal signal station in 1790 and was used as it was up until 1871, when the Imperial British forces were withdrawn from the area.


the gap1After that, it became a military garrison, housing coastal artillery emplacements that would serve to defend the Port of Sydney.


In 1895, the area started to be used by the small but ever-growing Australian Army as a gunnery school and, in 1942, a radar training school was established nearby for the Royal Australian Navy to use.


Today, visitors can explore the cliff face and its surrounding, sometimes venturing up to the chapel at the peak that, in 1962, was dedicated to the service personnel who served at The Gap for many years.


the gap2Since 1982, it has formed an important part of Sydney Harbour National Park and, in 1990, it was opened to the public, who can stroll along the numerous stunning clifftop walks that it is now so well-known for.


The Scenery of The Gap
The Gap is a spectacular place to lookout from, and it boasts an eclectic selection of flora and fauna for visitors to discover. The cliff itself is made from Sydney Sandstone, making it a part of the Sydney Basin and home to numerous bird and animal species.


Here, you might spot skinks and eastern water dragons as they weave their way through the rocks, and you’re likely to see a collection of seabirds, such as the silver gull and the Pacific gull, both of which use the cliff face to make their nests in.