Success! Fort Largs to be restored and opened to the public by the National Trust
After years of uncertainty about the future of Fort Largs at Taperoo, the National Trust has joined a partnership with the State Government and developer A V Jennings to restore the historic fort and open it to the public as part of an overall redevelopment of the site.
Transport and Infrastructure Minister Stephen Mullighan announced the partnership at the fort on 17 June. The Trust has been campaigning with other community organisations for the preservation of the fort and associated heritage buildings on the site since 2014. It secured state heritage protection for the World War II barracks and drill hall, alongside the original fort, which was listed by the Trust in 1973 and state heritage listed in 1986.
Constructed between 1883 and 1884, Fort Largs is one of only two forts built to defend South Australia. The other, Fort Glanville, is further down Adelaide’s coastline at Semaphore. Both forts have great heritage significance as evidence of nineteenth century defence strategy and technology. Fort Largs was also a significant military site in the twentieth century and housed the first barracks for the Women’s Royal Australian Army Corps (WRAAC) in Australia.
The planned development will ensure that the heritage buildings are preserved while allowing for residential development on the site, used as the Fort Largs Police Academy from 1961 to 2012, after it was handed to the State by the Commonwealth Government.
Under the proposed agreement, the National Trust will assume responsibility for the restoration, maintenance and future uses of the fort. The Trust will be supported to do so by the State Government with funds raised from the sale of the site. The Minister stated, “We couldn’t think of anyone better who could do this facility the justice it deserves, returning it to its former glory [and] also making sure the different elements of its heritage are retained and preserved.”
The Trust will work closely with A V Jennings, Renewal SA and the Port Adelaide and Enfield Council to ensure that the revitalised fort is well integrated with the new development and surrounding area. Iniital plans for the fort include an interpretive centre and café facilities.
President of the Trust, Professor Norman Etherington AM, welcomed the opportunity to work in partnership with Renewal SA and A V Jennings to ensure that Fort Largs is properly protected and made permanently accessible to the public.
“We look forward to creating a solution that preserves the integrity of the Fort and enables a new use which respects its significant role in Australia’s defence history. We are optimistic that we can reach an agreement that will secure the long term future of the site as a significant tourist attraction and public amenity.”