PHIL EDMAN says he’ll be “knocking on doors” at Cockburn council and WA’s parks and wildlife department to find out why heritage-listed war sites on Woodman Point are being allowed to crumble.
The south metro Liberal MLC is on a crusade to promote and preserve heritage sites linked to the Fremantle Fortress, a series of coastal defences created in WWII as fears of Japanese invasion gripped the nation. Despite becoming something of an authority on the fortifications, Mr Edman didn’t know of the extensive network of rail and munitions magazines on Woodman Point until taken on a tour by the Herald.
“I’m blown away,” he said, furious to discover a number of the buildings have been simply fenced off and are now falling over and rotting.
He reckons some structures, surrounded by thick bunker-like walls made of concrete “pillows”, would have housed torpedoes for the secret submarine base in Fremantle’s harbour.
“This is a fascinating site that shows how expansive the impact of the submarine base was and it needs to be saved before it is lost forever,” he says.
He’ll urge Cockburn council to save a small section of rail which is in the way of an expanded car park for the new Coogee surf lifesaving club. The council’s masterplan for the area doesn’t mention the rail nor its connection to the heritage site. Mr Edman says the fragment should be embedded in the tarmac and signage installed.
The state’s heritage council says the munitions magazines have “unique” and “landmark” significance.
The area was set aside in 1904 for the mines department to store explosives, but its bushy surroundings made it perfect for the navy to store cordite and ammunitions during WWII. The navy constructed three additional explosive stores at the site, one of which has been converted into a kitchen for the Woodman Point caravan park.
The magazines were added as a category A site to the council’s municipal inventory in 1997 and entered permanently to the state register in 2002.
by STEVE GRANT