UWA dig uncovers World War II camp on Hope Road in Bibra Lake

Daneille Kelly, Christine Cooper, Jillian Bartaux, Shelley Keeley and Olivia Pisano.

Above: Danielle Kelly, Christine Cooper, Jillian Bartaux, Shelley Keeley and Olivia Pisano. Right: Some of those stationed at the camp. Main picture: Matt Jelonek       d468165
Daneille Kelly, Christine Cooper, Jillian Bartaux, Shelley Keeley and Olivia Pisano. Above: Danielle Kelly, Christine Cooper, Jillian Bartaux, Shelley Keeley and Olivia Pisano. Right: Some of those stationed at the camp. Main picture: Matt Jelonek       d468165

FIELDWORK by an archaeology team from UWA over the past week was just another step in piecing together the history of a World War II army camp on Hope Road, according to Bibra Lake Residents Association (BLRA) president Christine Cooper.

Documents obtained by the BLRA from the Australian War Memorial in Canberra show the site was home to the headquarters of the 116 Light Anti Aircraft Regiment from January 1943.

The Australian Women’s Army Service also had women who served at the site performing a range of duties, including driving trucks, administration work and intelligence work to help with the protection of WA.

Until Ms Cooper and the BLRA brought the camp to the City of Cockburn’s attention in early 2015, it had been virtually forgotten.

A UWA archaeology field school led by lecturer Sven Ouzman sifted through the site last week, aiming to determine the archaeological signature of the war camp and consider evidence of indigenous occupation prior to that.

Ms Cooper said the research should provide details about exactly what the camp was used for.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to discover more information about the site but also for students to work in a local historical area,” she said.

Dr Ouzman said a military-related button and a path were among many discoveries that would be studied.

“Records are often written after the fact, so we’re looking at the primary evidence on the ground,” he said.

He said all artefacts would be documented before a report was completed by the end of the year

“You can make field discoveries but we only really understand them when we get back to the lab,” he said.Contact the BLRA at bibralakera@gmail.com.