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  • Writer's pictureCheryl Osborne

World War 11 Tunnels - Leighton Battery Heritage Site

The builders of the World War 11 tunnels at Buckland Hill would not recognise today’s site – once just a bare limestone hill with scrubby growth and a motor bike scramble track on the eastern side, now verdant with hardy local trees and shrubs and palatial homes in serried rows built to take maximum advantage of the ocean views! We had a chance meeting with our guide, David Walker, at the locked gate so were able to drive to the reception area, where we parked the bus. We had time to browse the displays in the reception area, before watching a short video presentation. A short walk to the gun emplacements and a brief history of each one – the last a replica of the more modern 5.25 machine. There had also been a battery of smaller anti-aircraft guns which, together with other bases along the coast, Rottnest and Garden Island, provided overlocking arcs through which any attacking aircraft or warship would have to navigate. Having negotiated the 35 step’s down, with a commentary and lights turning on as we went, we visited the first aid room, stand-easy quarters for men & women (a 6-bunk room with no amenities), observation deck, ammunition room and other operational areas. There was no kitchen – meals were brought in- and no bathroom facilities (it was 35 steps up to a long drop toilet on the surface!). Back on the surface, some folk joined David for a look at the incomplete renovations of the tunnels under the gun turrets. We thought we’d lunch at the Ocean Bar at Leighton Beach but ‘twas closed on Monday’s. We found sustenance at the Cottesloe Beach Hotel, before heading back up the hill via Canning & Great Eastern Highways.

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