Topic: Militia - LHW - WA
Western Australian Militia
Forts and Fixed Defences
The following is an extract from the book written in 1962 by George F. Wieck called The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia 1861-1903, pp. 71 - 72:
Forts and Fixed Defences
Very early in the life of the Settlement, Officers of the Regular Army drew attention to the lack of sea-ward defences at the Ports, especially at Fremantle. Captain FC Irwin was the first to do so and at his instigation Captain Twiss, R.E., was sent from Tasmania in 1846 to inspect and report on barracks and defences. Captain Twiss recommended the mounting of five 32Pr. S.B. M.L. [32 pounder smooth bore muzzle loading] guns at Arthur's Head. Nothing resulted.
In 1854, Captain EYW Henderson, R.E., recommended the erection of a Martello Tower at Point Anglesea and five Batteries at supporting points with connecting roads. The Martello Tower was to be armed with three 8-in guns and each Battery was to consist of four 12Pr. howitzers. He later switched the Martello Tower site to Arthur's Head. The Tower was to cost £1,176/1/8, and the other works £390/12/7,-all at the Colony's expense. Again nothing resulted.
Lieutenant Colonel J Bruce raised the matter in 1861. In that year Sir Peter Scratchley came to inspect and report; his plan was to have two 7-in (6½ ton) and three 16Pr, guns (all muzzle-loaders of course) on travelling carriages at Fremantle. The War Office offered to provide the guns. Albany was to have only light armament. The proposal was shelved. Actually the two 7-in guns did arrive and after reposing uselessly on the sand at Karrakatta for some considerable time were sent to King's Park for decorative purposes.
No further action was taken until the question of a protective Fort for the Royal Naval coal reserves at Albany arose in 1892-93.
A joint Naval and Military Committee met on 4 October 1899 to consider Fremantle Defence requirements. There is no available record of this Committee's recommendations but it is significant that the erection of defences at Fremantle commenced in 1904.
An Artillery gun-shed was erected in Francis Street, Perth, in 1885. The Francis Street Headquarters building was erected in 1896; the Ordnance Store in Museum Street followed a little later and the adjacent Drill Hall was erected in 1901.
The "Barracks" erected at the western end of St. George's Terrace was in no way connected with the Volunteer Movement.
Next: Rifle Ranges
Further Reading:Western Australian Militia, Light Horse
Citation: The Volunteer Movement in Western Australia, Forts and Fixed Defences