Fremantle or ‘Freo’ as many locals refer to it is a town filled with historical buildings, a World Heritage listed attraction (Fremantle Prison), great cafes, a shopping precinct and a few well kept secrets.
Yesterday/Sunday, I had the privilege of discovering one of these secrets- the Leighton Battery Guns. I have my dad to thank for my interest in learning about history- more specifically with wars and the events which unfolded. On a previous father/daughter day, we looked at the Army Museum/Barracks in Fremantle (which is also well worth a look).
After months of procrastination and busy schedules, my dad and I (finally) got a chance to look at the Leighton Battery Guns or World War II Tunnels. The site is surrounded by a housing estate and is situated on Buckland Hill. If you follow the brown tourist signs that are on the same poles as the street signs, you’ll be able to find your way to the carpark with ease and a quick game of ‘I spy’. The battery is only open on Sundays’ between 10am and 3pm with tours being held every 30 minutes.
The best part? The cost of admission for adults is only $8 and children between 6-12 years are charged $2.
Be prepared- it isn’t a short tour. Fortunately I smuggled in some snacks for dad and I otherwise we would’ve been ravenous by the time the tour had concluded. Our tour lasted almost 2 hours. All of the tour guides are volunteers, they are extremely knowledgeable and are more than happy to test your knowledge of historical events, answer questions and show you all aspects of the battery.
The tour starts above ground to provide context as to how and why Fremantle had a battery built and then you slowly make your way underground to the battery. It’s a wonderfully preserved piece of history and to continue on, funding is needed. The battery is maintained by THE ROYAL AUSTRALIAN ARTILLERY HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA. As an aside, this society doesn’t receive any funding or government subsidies hence the short opening hours which is a shame because it really should be on the bucketlist for locals, tourists and travelers who pay a visit to Fremantle.