Rottnest Island Authority spends $950,000 restoring historic sea wall

Annabel Wills (Heritage Office) Melville with John Kelly (Site Manager and Stone Mason) Thornlie with sea wall at Thomson Bay Picture: Andrew Ritchie
Annabel Wills (Heritage Office) Melville with John Kelly (Site Manager and Stone Mason) Thornlie with sea wall at Thomson Bay Picture: Andrew Ritchie

THE Rottnest Island Authority (RIA) has been restoring the Thomson Bay sea wall, which provides an entry statement to the island, to ensure it remains standing for another century.

The Sea Wall was originally built as a garden wall for the Superintendant’s cottage where Henry Vincent lived and has been extended to more than 400m making it clearly visible as visitors arrive off the ferry.

It now acts as a protective barrier for cottages on Vincent Way that would otherwise slip in to the ocean because of rising sea levels and storm surges.

RIA Heritage officer Annabel Wills said tree roots were putting pressure on the wall making it “structurally unsound”.

Mrs Wills said liquid grout was injected behind the wall becoming hard to create a new retaining wall behind the original structure.

“We had an arborist involved to cut the tree roots and a tree root barrier was put in,” she said.

The RIA funded the $950,000 project and the heritage team plans to build a heritage trail along the top and bottom of the wall to educate people about its construction and expansion dating back to 1840.