War crime

• Archaeologist Sue Carter with budding archaeologists Jamila, Connor, Lachy, Jasmine and Finn. Photo by Steve Grant

• Archaeologist Sue Carter with budding archaeologists Jamila, Connor, Lachy, Jasmine and Finn. Photo by Steve Grant

A THIEF has damaged a heritage site in Bibra Lake just a fortnight after Cockburn council announced its existence.

Searching for artefacts at the Australian Women’s Army service camp on Hope Road, the thieves dug two holes, smashed a toilet and damaged drainage pipes, which are about all that remains at the WWII-era site.

Archaeologist Sue Carter, who discovered the damage while taking a new junior archeologist’s club through the site on the weekend, was furious.

Ms Carter says the thief has undermined legitimate research into the site, which has never before been investigated.

“It’s one of the reasons I set up the junior club,” she told the Herald. “With so much of the world’s heritage being destroyed through accidents, deliberate destruction, and even war, I feel it is important that we engage the youth of the world in the importance of history and archaeology, in order to protect its future.”

The club’s first outing last weekend attracted five new history buffs, who were given a youngsters’ archaeologist kit developed by Ms Carter, a world expert on English fortifications.

It will meet on Saturday mornings for three hours during school terms. Book at eventbrite.com/junior-archaeologist-club.


Heritage bid for WWII campsite

COCKBURN city council is seeking an emergency heritage listing of a World War II camp that’s in the way of the Roe Highway extension through Bibra Lake.

The council has made its submission to federal environment minister Greg Hunt asking that “Searchlight Station”, a women’s army camp across the road from Native Arc, get immediate protection.

“We are demanding its protection on the National Heritage List while further investigation is undertaken to fully understand the heritage values of the site,” mayor Logan Howlett says.

“Minister Hunt’s role is to protect the nation’s key cultural, natural and historical assets. These are in danger of being destroyed by the proposed extension of the Roe 8 highway through this area.”

Although the known area of the camp is 170m from the proposed highway route, there are no maps and the council wants to investigate the camp’s boundaries.

It recently voted to consider the site for its own municipal heritage register, releasing it for public comment as a site of “considerable significance”.

The council was alerted to the site by the Bibra Lake Residents’ Association which is opposed to the highway extension.

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