Leighton Battery and Tunnels
Locals may have driven past numerous times without realizing that such a facility sits there, hidden away just off Stirling Highway. Fremantle Leighton Battery and Tunnels are situated on top of Buckland Hill, one of the highest points in the Perth Metropolitan area. The facility, which remained operational until 1963, has a commanding view of the sea approaches to Fremantle.
During World War II
When military involvement came about in the early 1900s, Buckland Hill was identified as a first-class observation point for the gun batteries. During the Great War, the Battery Observation Post also served as the Port War Signal Station. In 1942, the Fort Arthur guns were relocated to Leighton. Further, over 300 meters of tunnels were excavated for storage and various facilities.
Post World War II
After World War II, the battery was abandoned for many years. At first the tunnels were fully neglected, clogged with sand and debris. In later years, residential development started taking place and presently some of the original gun emplacements and tunnels are buried. However, 1/3 of it was retained as public space, later to be entered in the National Estate as an “A Class” reserve.
For more information on the history, please visit; www.artillerywa.org.au/RAAHS/Leighton.htm
During World War II, Perth had its big guns ready, though never had the need to use them. Two 6” gun placements were constructed between the years 1942 – 1943 on Buckland Hill.
A secret maze of tunnels was excavated beneath Buckland Hill to accommodate the operational facilities in support of the guns. The tunnels that stretched for an impressive 300 metres through the limestone, connected several rooms in strategic locations. These rooms were used for purposes such as storage for ammunition, sleeping and observing the enemy.
The site has been opened to the public since 1997. Guided tours were operating from 10 am – 3 pm every Sunday until recently. These tours allow you to experience life below the ground in a World War II artillery battery. However, due to the current Covid-19 situation, the guided tours of the tunnels are suspended until further notice.
Virtual Tunnel Tour
For a virtual tunnel tour experience, please visit; www.artillerywa.org.au/vtour/vtour.htm
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