Two concrete blockhouses at West End
All the above photos were taken by Jill and me a few weeks ago in late August. I'm unsure of the actual original function of these two WW2 concrete blockhouses perched high above the ocean at Rottnest's West End. It seems reasonable to assume they were part of a radar installation because they're located on Radar Hill, and Radar Reef lies below in the adjacent ocean, however a map based on 1942 data in McKenzie-Smith (2009:23) Defending Fremantle... indicates an FOP or forward observation post. I've learned elsewhere the names Radar Hill and Radar Reef were evidently given in a 1959 paper by biological researchers Hodgkin & Sheard. There was a RAAF radar setup midway along the island, northwest of the main lighthouse. A few weeks ago we noticed a sturdy commemorative plaque for it had mysteriously vanished since our previous visit in May 2013.
There is no commemorative plaque for the West End blockhouses. During the post-war 1960s and 70s they were used for camping by amateur anglers, which included a brother-in-law and a nephew of mine. But those carefree adventures were curtailed by authoritarians several decades ago and the structures have been sealed up almost tomb-like ever since. My interior photos were obtained by single handedly poking my camera gingerly through some small air holes and blindly clicking the button. In my opinion the contents thus revealed, even if post-war origin, now have their own historical importance.
© MMXIII Paul R. Weaver.
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Check out each month's subject index on the Calendar Page for all my "common-man" monologues about survival in 21st century Australia – plus a little history occasionally. An original essay is added most days as part of an undertaking to write at least several million words. Zzzzzzzz!