News

Leighton Battery Gets Important Funding from State Government and Town of Mosman Park

Important works that are much needed at the Leighton Battery in Mosman Park can now go ahead thanks to joint funding by LotteryWest and the Town of Mosman Park.

The Town of Mosman Park applied for the funding with the assistance of the team at the Royal Australian Artillery Historical Society of Western Australia (Inc.) (Leighton Battery) and today the announcement came through that the grant application was successful.

“This now means that the hard-working and dedicated team at this important historical site can do important works to preserve the site, and the Town can proceed with works to maintain the physical surrounds,” Mayor Pollock said.

The announcement was made today that the Town of Mosman Park in partnership with the Royal Australian Artillery Historical Society of Western Australia (Inc.) would receive the sum of $99,755 in the form of a grant from LotteryWest with a further $33,000 contributed directly by the Town of Mosman Park.

Mayor Pollock said Council was delighted to support the work of the Leighton Battery team, who are a dedicated band of volunteers who have worked ceaselessly to preserve the site and to share it with the local community.

The Leighton Battery run tours of the facility each month and the visits are very popular with tourists from the local area, the Perth region and beyond, particularly with military history buffs.

Mayor Pollock advised that the works on the site would begin shortly, and was pleased that the Town was able to partner with the local volunteers to deliver this result.

Mayor Pollock explained that the site is unquestionably the richest combination of aesthetic, historic, scientific and social values in the area, and one the Town is very keen to preserve and protect. The funding requested from Lotterywest will enable both the Town and the RAAHS volunteers at the Leighton Battery to continue to provide: access to rare and significant artefacts; access to local, state and national historical research; a physical experience of the war years; volunteer opportunities for the community; and simply, a safe and enjoyable environment for the local and broader community to visit in years to come.

Background

About the Leighton Battery

The Leighton Battery tunnels were constructed, circa 1942 and after decommissioning as a military site, the tunnels were blocked in 1979 by bulldozing the entrances and filling with rubble. Following gazettal as an "A Class Reserve" the Royal Australian Artillery Historical Society of Western Australia was granted permissive occupancy of the Battery area and authorised to develop the facility as a militaria museum.

Works Now Made Possible by the Grant

With the funding now available, the Town of Mosman Park intends to undertake two project components –

1.         Development of a Conservation Management Plan incorporating both the Cultural/Heritage and Environmental Values of the Buckland Hill Reserve which includes both the Royal Australian Artillery Historical Society of WA’s [RAAHS] ‘Leighton Battery’ gun site and war tunnels and surrounding natural environment.

The site has been entered in the Register of the National Estate as a significant World War Two Coastal Defence Facility, is State Heritage listed, is listed on the Town of Mosman Park’s Municipal Heritage Inventory, and has also received the Engineering Heritage National Landmark award. Through the Sunday tours alone, the site now has more than 5,000 visitors per annum participate in tours of the facility, which is entirely run by volunteers. The area is also of high regional environmental value, and was recently designated as a Threatened Ecological Community by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. The document will identify conflicts between ecological and heritage values and provide rationale behind a series of thoughtful and duly considered actions developed to maintain a consistent management approach for the Site, with the overarching goal to conserve the history entwined within the built and natural attributes.

2.         Removal of link mesh fencing that enclose the 5.25-inch gun pit and stairwell leading to the complex and replacement with a concrete roof over the pit and suitable enclosure covering the stairwell.

Immediate action to enclose the 5.25-inch CD/AA gun pit as identified in a plan drawn up by the Leighton Battery in 2015 to ensure that elements within the emplacement are maintained and protected from the elements. Enclosing the 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 more extensive tunnel network. The pit is currently surrounded by a link mesh fence for safety reasons which deters from the overall amenity of the site and visitor experience.

For more information about the RASHA visit their website at http://www.artillerywa.org.au/raahs/leighton.htm or call 9269 4544.  Tours of the site are held every Sunday from 10am - 3pm.

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