FHS April 2024

Walyalup Civic Centre

· Fremantle History Society · Fremantle · military ·

This month's Fremantle History Society talk was by Shane Burke, a senior lecturer in archaeology and history at Notre Dame. The talk was entitled *Defence of Fremantle: Then and Now*, and was an overview of some of the important sites of military defence in this area.

Starting with a fort marked in an early surveyor's notebook, on the corner of Pakenham and High streets, and then jumping to WW2 with the Arthur and Buckland batteries. He showed this interesting photo of Arthur Head taken from the top of the power station chimney in the '20s:

(Ignore the red 'copyright applies' watermark; this is in the public domain.)

The two gun emplacements seen there were demolished (along with most of the limestone headland), and all dumped into Bathers Bay. He was saying that it was all cleaned up in the 1980s for the America's Cup defence (hmm there's another defence, but he didn't make the pun), with the concrete remnants being intentionally left as reminders. I'd always thought they were inadvertently left there.

Buckland Hill Battery was the next topic, especially about a chunk of concrete that remains on the western side of Stirling Highway, that's been mostly destroyed by a modern cable being laid through it. And the remnants of writing in the concrete structures there and on the hill.

Lastly, he talked about the anti-submarine boom in the harbour entrance, and the South Mole gun emplacement (part of Authurs Battery). All up, a good evening.