Fort Denison is a former penal site and defensive facility occupying a small island located north of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney Harbour, New South Wales, Australia. The island is also known as Pinchgut.
Prior to European settlement, the island had the Eora name Mat-te-wan-ye (sometimes Mallee’wonya). After the First Fleet arrived in 1788, Governor Phillip and his Advocate-General used the name Rock Island. In 1788, a convict named Thomas Hill was sentenced to a week on bread and water in irons there, after which the island came to be known as Pinchgut. Once a 15 metre (49 ft) high sandstone rock, the island was flattened as prisoners under the command of Captain George Barney, the civil engineer for the colony, quarried it for sandstone to construct nearby Circular Quay.
Fort Denison is now a museum, tourist attraction and a popular location for wedding receptions and corporate events. The tourist facility contains an exhibition of the island's history from Aboriginal times.