War is a poor chisel to carve out tomorrow.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. (American Baptist Minister and Civil-Rights Leader. 1929-1968)
As part of Australia’s coastal defense during World War II, the Port of Fremantle, Western Australia was defended by a series of gun emplacements, one of which was the Leighton Battery, north of Fremantle. This site has been preserved and restored by the Royal Australian Historical Society of Western Australia and is open to the public for tours.
Work began on the tunnels in 1942 in response to the fall of Singapore, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour, bombing of Darwin, and no doubt, the sinking of the HMAS Sydney. With what appeared nothing stopping the Japanese at the time, there was grave concern that Fremantle would likely be a target for the next Japanese attack.
The tunnel system is carved from solid limestone and is quite extensive, totaling over 300m in length at an average depth of 10 metres.The tunnels were originally designed to service two 6 inch guns, hence there is two ammunition magazines and shell hoists.
The original two 6 inch guns were soon replaced by 3 brand new emplacements of 5.25 inch guns. The new guns were capable of both seaward firing and aerial(anti-aircraft) firing. These were installed in 1945 towards the end of the war and did not become fully operational until 1948. Despite the end of the war, the guns were still used for Regular Army and Army Reserve training purposes until 1963.
In 1963, the Coastal Artillery Branch of the Royal Regiment of Australian Artillery was disbanded. The guns and associated equipment were deemed obsolete, guns were cut up and sold off for scrap. The tunnels entrances were bulldozed closed and very little else happened on the site until the army eventually sold the land. In the late 1980′s developers decided the site would be used for housing with the exception of the small area containing the tunnels and guns emplacements which was to become a reserve and public open space.
Taken with the Canon EOS 600D 18-55mm
PLEASE VIEW LARGE