Governor William Thomas Denison
Governor Fitzroy, who had been appointed in 1847, remained eight years in office and thus was present during the events which made so great a change in the prospects of the colonies. In 1855 he returned to England and his place was taken by Sir William Denison, who had previously been Governor of Tasmania.
In 1854 great excitement had been caused in Sydney by the outbreak of the Crimean War, and the people, in their fear lest they suddenly received and unwelcome visit from Russian cruisers, hastened to complete a system of fortifications for the harbour. The new Governor, who had in his youth been trained as an officer of the Royal Engineers in England, took a warm interest in the operations. He built a small fortress on an islet in the middle of the harhour (Fort Denison) and placed batteries of guns as suitable spots along the shores. The advancement of the science of warfare in recent times had left these little fortifications sorry defences against modern iron-clads; but they have since been supplemented by some of those improvements in defence which have accompanied the invention of new methods of attack.