Historic revival of war defence
THE public will see how Fremantle was defended when volunteers rebuild a gun house for a World War Ii-era 5.25-inch calibre gun, thanks to $133,000 in grants.
The gun house will be constructed at the Leighton Battery in Mosman Park.
“It will also open up the space in the gun’s pit underneath for displays and tours, while above will be the replica of the gun house, but it can’t be entered,” Royal Australian Artillery Historical Society of WA president David Carte said at the grants’ announcement last month.
The society will receive $99,755 from Lotterywest and $33,000 from Mosman Park Council.
The guns were capable of firing to Rottnest Island 19km away and be elevated to defend against attacking aircraft before they were decommissioned in the 1960s. Mr Carter said a local company would fabricate the gun house and a replica of its protruding barrel.
The battery’s tunnels were constructed in 1942 but after decommissioning as a military site they were blocked in 1979 before being placed on the Register of the National Estate.
“Enclosing the gun’s pit has been identified as a priority for safety and conservation reasons, and as the first step to undertaking restoration and interpretive works to the gun emplacement, thereby providing an additional experience for visitors to the site, especially those that are less comfortable with the battery’s more extensive tunnel network,” Mosman Park Mayor Brett Pollock said.
Work on the pit will start by removing its fencing and adding a concrete roof by the end of the year, while the council will improve the surroundings.
The gun house is expected to be installed late 2020.
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The original gun house will be replicated at Leighton Battery.Picture: Andrew Ritchie