Volunteers are fired up to build a big replica gun in Mosman Park

Royal Australian Artillery Historical Society of WA president David Carter at the gun pit where the replica housing will be built.  Picture: Jon Bassett.
Royal Australian Artillery Historical Society of WA president David Carter at the gun pit where the replica housing will be built. Picture: Jon Bassett.

THE public will see how Fremantle was defended when volunteers rebuild a gun house for a WWII-era 5.25 inch calibre gun using $133,000 in grants.

The gun house will be constructed at the Leighton Battery, Mosman Park.

“It will also open up the space in the gun’s pit underneath for displays and tours, while above will be the replica of the gun house, but it can’t be entered,” Royal Australian Artillery Historical Society of WA president David Carte said at the grants’ announcement this morning.

The society will get $99,755 from LotteryWest and $33,000 from Mosman Park Council.

The guns could fire to Rottnest Island 19km away and be elevated to defend against attacking aircraft, before they were decommissioned in the 1960s.

The original gun.

Mr Carter said a local company would fabricate the gun house and a replica of its protruding barrel.

The battery’s tunnels were constructed in 1942, but after decommissioning as a military site they were blocked in 1979, before being put on the Register of the National Estate.

“Enclosing the gun’s pit has been identified as a priority for safety and conservation reasons, and as the first step to undertaking restoration and interpretive works to the gun emplacement, thereby providing an additional experience for visitors to the site, especially those that are less comfortable with the battery’s more extensive tunnel network,” Mosman Park Mayor Brett Pollock said.

Work on the pit will start by removing its fencing and adding a concrete roof by the end of next year, while the council would maintain and improve the surroundings.

The gun house is expected to be installed above the pit in late 2020.

“Through the Sunday tours alone, the site now has more than 5000 visitors per annum participate in tours of the facility, which is entirely run by volunteers,” Mr Pollock said.