WHEN the Defence department sold Cantonment Hill to Fremantle council for a song no-one was happier than Wendy and David Radcliffe, who’d campaigned to keep it as a public asset.
Little wonder that when Rifle Cottage, on the edge of the hill, went on the market they jumped at the chance to buy it.
It’s meant not just a heritage renovation of the early 1900s home but taking on the 1650sqm “garden”. “The block was bare grass and and exposed hillside. Very degraded,” Mrs Radcliffe says. Three years later it’s being showcased as part of the last-ever Open Gardens scheme.
Old eucalypts, fig and jacarandas, grapevines and a poinciana complement more recent plantings, including heritage roses, hardy salvias, natives and succulents.
Some were lost along the way, turning up their leaves at the heavy limestone soil and exposed site. “It takes more than determination, it take doggedness and pig headedness…It’s a labour of love,” Mrs Radcliffe says.
Entry money ($8) goes towards juvenile diabetes research, so get on down to enjoy a visual feast in the name of doing good. There’s also an historic art and glass display and musicians roaming the gardens.
Rifle Cottage, 62 Tuckfield Street, Fremantle, open Saturday and Sunday April 11 & 12, 10–4.30pm.
by JENNY D’ANGER