Fremantle Stuff > Ewers

John K. Ewers 1971, The Western Gateway: A History of Fremantle, Fremantle City Council, with UWAP, rev. ed. [1st ed. 1948].

Chapter 13:
The Fremantle City Council

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Fremantle was proclaimed a City on Monday, 3 June 1929—100 years after the arrival of the first colonists in Western Australia. As if to mark the occasion, the weather provided almost a replica of those wintry conditions that greeted the Parmelia and its heroic band.

The day opened with a tree-planting ceremony in Fremantle Park, where twenty-nine trees were planted by representatives of the Council and other prominent citizens. Then followed the official proclamation from the balcony of the Town Hall. A large crowd, despite the unfavourable weather, filled the streets immediately below the balcony when the mayor opened the proceedings. He told them briefly of the steps by which Fremantle had advanced to the civic dignity of a city. The Minister for Works and Local Government, Mr A. McCallum, who represented the South Fremantle constituency in the Legislative Assembly, spoke of the development of the state over the past 100 years. Then His Excellency, Colonel Sir William Campion, K.C.M.G., D.S.O., under the shelter of a large umbrella, read the following proclamation, which had been signed by the Lieutenant-Governor, Sir R. F. McMillan, on 12 February 1929:

I, the said Lieutenant-Governor and Administrator, by and with the advice and consent of the Executive Council, do by this my proclamation declare that the municipal district of Fremantle shall, as from the third day of June, 1929, be a city, and the name of the said district ... is, as from such date, hereby altered accordingly, and shall be the City of Fremantle . . . God Save The King. 1

The Municipal Corporations Act 1906, 2 under which this Proclamation was made, provides that ‘The Governor may declare a

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municipal district having in the year preceding such a declaration a population of 20,000 persons and a gross revenue of £20,000 a city.' At 31 October 1928 the municipality of Fremantle, with an area of 3,710 acres, was estimated to have a population of 22,340. Its revenue during 1928 totalled £73,354. 3

The first meeting of the Fremantle City Council took place at twelve noon, immediately following the official proclamation. It was declared open by the governor, who said:

I feel that in coming here today and in carrying out these ceremonies on behalf of His Majesty, I am fulfilling and carrying on the work that has been done by my predecessors in office during the last hundred years, and throughout the whole of that time their relations with what is now the City of Fremantle have been of the most intimate and cordial nature.

This is not an occasion for making a long speech, but in declaring this first Council meeting open I should like to express the hope that your decisions may be, as I am sure they will be, guided by good judgment, and that you may be given the gift of all gifts which is valuable—the gift of wisdom, and that your discussions and deliberations may result in the advancement, the still further advancement, and development and welfare generally, in every sense and the best sense of the word, of the City of Fremantle in the future. 4

The Proclamation was read once more, this time by Mr Sanderson, Officer in Charge of the Local Government Department, and after votes of thanks were moved to His Excellency and the Minister for Works and Local Government, the meeting closed.

Then followed the official luncheon, to which a large and representative number of officials and representatives of early Fremantle families had been invited. In proposing the toast, ‘The City of Fremantle’, His Excellency presented to the assembled guests an admirably concise and accurate account of Fremantle’s story through the first hundred years. The mayor suitably replied. Other toasts were: ‘His Excellency the Governor’, proposed by Dr J. S. Battye; ‘The Pioneers’, proposed by Mr A. McCallum, M.L.A., and responded to by representatives of three early families, Messrs W. F. Samson, J. W. Bateman and J.' G. Harwood. Finally, Councillor

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Shepherd proposed the toast of ‘The Parliament’, to which the Federal Member for Fremantle, Mr J. Curtin, M.H.R., responded. (For a complete list of those who have served on the Fremantle City Council since 1929, see Appendix 8.)

Three months later, Fremantle became the scene of the most picturesque feature in the State’s Centenary Celebrations. On 28 September a series of pageants on the Esplanade recreated significant pages of our early history. The proceedings opened with the singing of a massed choir of over 1,000 children from Fremantle schools, under the baton of Mr O. G. Campbell Egan.

At 10.40 a.m. a party of marines, wearing blue trousers, red coats and tall shakos, were rowed ashore by sailors from H.M.S. Challenger. This represented the morning of 2 May 1829. The marines smoking clay pipes reconnoitred the country and presently a flagstaff was brought ashore and a suitable place chosen for its erection. Soon afterwards Captain C. H. Fremantle arrived, accompanied by Lieutenant Henry. As the flag was unfurled, Fremantle read a proclamation annexing the whole of the coast of New Holland. The marines fired a volley, followed immediately by a 21-gun salute from the twentieth-century H.M.A.S. Canberra, the presence of which in the harbour significantly marked the progress from 1829 to 1929.

The second pageant depicted the coming ashore of Captain James Stirling, together with Captain Irwin, who read the proclamation of the foundation of the Colony of Western Australia.

A more human and less official note crept into the third tableau. This represented 5 September 1829, the day on which the first settlers, who had been wintering at Garden Island, came to the mainland. They gazed around them with well simulated interest and curiosity. A sailor produced a kangaroo for their inspection and, while they were exhibiting mixed reactions of admiration and alarm at seeing such a strange animal, a gun-shot was heard in the distance. This was the parting salute of the Parmelia which had weighed anchor and was about to return to England. Upon a freshening breeze were borne the strains of ‘Home Sweet Home’ (sung, in this instance, softly by the children’s choir). Tears were wiped away, but as the ship faded from sight the settlers put

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nostalgia aside and set to work on die tasks that so abundantly awaited them in the new land.

The fourth pageant leapt sixty years forward, to 31 October 1890, the date of the proclamation of Responsible Government. Led by the band of the Royal Australian Naval Reserve, detachments of the Royal Australian Artillery and the Australian Garrison Artillery arrived and hoisted the Western Australian flag alongside the Union Jack. While doing so, they were challenged by a sentry wearing the uniform of 1829. To him came Memory, white-clad and carrying a palm in her hand. She whispered to him, whereupon, putting the Trumpet of Fame to his lips, the sentry told of the pioneers and their courage.

Thus concluded a tapestry of history, and the inhabitants of Fremantle and elsewhere who had witnessed it, wrenched themselves back from the past to the present, concluding their celebrations with a semi-final football match at Fremantle Oval in the afternoon and a sports and fireworks display at night. But the significance of the past was not allowed to die with the passing of that centenary year. Every year since then, on the first Monday in June, the Fremantle City Council has celebrated in a simple but impressive manner the foundation of the colony, which is synonymous with the foundation of Fremantle. Nor is the observation merely one of lip-service. The desire to preserve historic buildings is evidenced in the decision not to remove Arthur’s Head and the Round House in spite of repeated requests from a section of ratepayers. Instead, this has been vested in the Harbour Trust, with the Council and the W.A. Historical Society as joint Trustees. In 1936 the building was strengthened, repaired, and its approaches beautified.

It would be pleasant to record that this hundredth anniversary of the birth of a new community ushered in an era of unprecedented prosperity for the descendants of those hardy pioneers. Unfortunately, this was not so. Following post-war years of glamourous promise, the world was in the grip of an economic depression, Every section of the Australian community faced increasing unemployment and a reduction of the community income.

Fremantle was no exception. The year that marked the proclamation of the city saw also the opening of the first soup kitchens. Two committees were formed by the Council, one under the chairmanship

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of Councillor Hollis in charge of single men, the other under Councillor Rennie to care for the married men. In June 1930 the government suggested that local governing bodies should undertake special works to relieve the situation by finding employment for men who were receiving government sustenance money. In Fremantle there were at this time 282 recipients, 186 general workers and 96 wharf labourers.

Although at this time the Fremantle City Council had a bank overdraft of £12,900, it was generally agreed that they should strain their finances to the utmost to meet the situation. A programme of special works was drawn up. This provided for improvements to Monument Hill, a soak dam in Samson Street, and road construction in Wilkinson, Marmion, Edmund, Smith, Shepherd, Gibson and Holland Streets. By 26 September 1930 the Council had paid out £5,836 for work for unemployed, of which £3,360 was recoverable from the government. At that time it was anticipated that, if all accounts were met, there would be a deficit of £15,000 by the end of the year. In actual fact, it amounted to £14,667.

The situation was not one that could be regarded complacently. Retrenchment was essential if they were to weather the storm. Council affairs would have to be administered with the strictest economy and henceforth they must finance all their undertakings on revenue and not on loan money. To a large extent, this was making a virtue of necessity. Even had they desired to borrow, there was no loan money available in those years.

Nor was the revenue of the Council as robust as it had been. The previous ten years had been years of expanding property and increasing prices. These two facts are shown in the following table of rateable values in the Fremantle Municipality from 1919:

1919 £130,000
1920 £134,360
1921 £157,965
1922 £163,414
1923 £167,669
1924 £173,973
1925 £181,419
1926 £184,806
1927 £189,369
1928 £196,065
1929 £202,362

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During this period, too, assessments were high. They were seldom lower than 3s. 6d. in the £1 and the loan rate alone was as high as 1s. 5 1/2 d. in the £1 in the early part of the decade, although by 1929 it had fallen to Is. The difficulty of collecting these rates, high as they were, had not been a serious one. But from 1930 onwards the collection of outstanding rates became increasingly difficult. It was not thought desirable to take harsh measures to recover money from people who were finding it difficult to make ends meet. Thus we find the mayor repeatedly referring to these figures in his half-yearly reports, and stating that every endeavour was being made to collect the money due. In addition to a present failure to collect a proportion of the rates that were owing, the gross income of the Council was reduced by a fall in the valuation of property. As a result of the non-borrowing policy there was a corresponding diminution of the loan rate, which dropped from 1s. 7 1/2 d. in 1933 to 1s. 1d. in 1935, to 8 1/4 d. in 1937. Thereafter, it fluctuated a little, with a general downward tendency, until in 1944 it was only 5 1/4 d., and by 1945 had disappeared entirely from the assessment. In 1938 it was possible to reduce the total amount of rates to 2s. 8d. in the £1. They remained at that figure until they were raised to 3s. 1d. in the £1 for the year, 1947-8. The extent to which valuations fell in 1932 is shown by the following figures:

1930 £211,305
1931 £212,070
1932 £176,955
1933 £172,069
1934 £166,588
1935 £166,463
1936 £168,508
1937 £171,445
1938 £174,290
1939 £178,826

Income from municipal investments also shrank during this period. As early as October 1930 it was pointed out that, whereas for the previous three years the average amount received from the Tramways and Electric Lighting Board was £3,000, the amount for 1929-30 was only £284. 6s. 0d. In the following year they received nothing from this source and this was again their experience in 1933-34.

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Unemployment continued to be a problem. For the last week in 1930 there were 290 men receiving work from the Council. For the corresponding week in 1931 there were 304. A major project carried on by this means was the levelling and laying out of the grounds of Monument Hill where the War Memorial had been unveiled in 1928. There is more than a touch of irony in the fact that these grounds, the beauty of which is generally agreed upon, were made beautiful by men who could not be found normal employment in a society for which many of them had fought during World War I. They were now thrown upon the charity of government and municipality for their livelihood.

But just as these individuals and many others in those days, to paraphrase the Psalmist, ‘passed through the valley and made of it a well’, so did the Fremantle City Council emerge from this difficult time strengthened by the experience and more than ever determined to maintain its reputation for municipal enterprise.

Particularly is this apparent in matters appertaining to the health of the community. In November 1932 the Council gave its approval to the Schick test for diphtheria immunization and subsequently made an annual contribution to a clinic established at the Children’s Hospital, Subiaco. In 1935, following a circular letter from the Commissioner of Public Health, Dr Everett Atkinson, a conference of representatives from the Fremantle City Council, East Fremantle Council, North Fremantle Council and the Melville and Fremantle Road Boards was called. As a result, a clinic was opened at the Fremantle Hospital on 30 June 1936.

Throughout the years, there had seldom been a report from the Health Inspector which had not included some cases of diphtheria. Frequently from 5 to 7 cases were reported, and on some occasions the numbers varied between 8 and 12. It was the regularity of its incidence that prompted at one time the proposal that an infectious diseases hospital should be provided for Fremantle. Diphtheria occurred in a proportion of about 8 to 1 of other infectious diseases, but at the time of the opening of the clinic at the Fremantle Hospital, Dr Dunkley, the Medical Officer of Health, gave it as his opinion that this new move would make an infectious diseases hospital for Fremantle unnecessary.

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Events proved him correct, although the response of parents to have their children immunized was not at first encouraging. Thus, two years after the establishment of the clinic, it was estimated that less than 50 per cent of the children in the district had been treated. However, results even at that stage were startling enough to convince even the sceptics. Of every 1,000 non-immunized children, 44 had contracted the disease. Of the same number of children who had been immunized, there were only 4 cases of diphtheria. Two years later, the incidence among non-immunized children was 21.6 per 1,000 as compared with .076 per 1,000 of those who had been treated. In March, April and May of 1941 the City of Fremantle was completely free of the disease.

In 1935 a Free Dental Clinic for children was established. This was the combined effort of seven local governing bodies who initially contributed in the following ratios: East Fremantle Council £40.06, North Fremantle Council £30.27, Buckland Hill Road Board (now Mosman Park) £19.72, Melville Road Board £42.41, Fremantle Road Board £17.67, Rockingham Road Board £10.26, and Fremantle City Council £139.84. The Council agreed to house the clinic in its Centenary Buildings, making two rooms valued at £100 per year available without cost to the clinic. 5

Even earlier than the establishment of these two clinics, came the suggestion to make radical and lasting improvements in the sanitary service controlled by the Council. Following the introduction of a Government Sewerage Scheme, the Council had administered a pan system for premises not connected with deep drainage. In particular there were outlying areas where settlement was too scattered for the introduction of sewerage and others where the low-lying nature of the land rendered it equally impracticable. In 1933 the Council approved of the principle of a uniform system of septic tanks which would completely do away with the pan system. It was proposed that each connection would not cost more than £25 and the generous terms for repayment, spread over 10 years, would not exceed the annual pan-charge levied at the time. As a beginning, the Minister for Works was asked to connect all premises within the sewered area, so that when the septic tanks were installed the pan system would be completely abolished.

Installations were commenced in the second half of 1933 and continued until in his Half-Yearly Report for 1937, His Worship the

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Mayor was able to announce: ‘The work of providing a septic tank to every habitation and occupied building in the district not sewered has now been completed.’ 6 The total cost was £7,234, the whole of which would in time be repaid with interest at 4 per cent.

There were some interesting educational developments during this period. In 1920 the mayor had suggested the inauguration of University Extension Lectures in Fremantle and these became a feature of the winter months in the years that followed. 7 In 1929 the newly-appointed Director of Adult Education, Mr F. Sinclaire, visited the Council to suggest the establishment of adult classes in the town, and in the course of his address told the assembled members that the Council chamber represented his ideal of a class-room. The upshot of this was that this chamber became the meeting-place of Adult Education classes every Thursday night, starting from 3 August 1929. University extension lectures continued to be held as before.

At the other end of the educational scale was the proposal of the Kindergarten Union to erect a kindergarten in Price Street. Plans were submitted to the Council (who had already granted the land for this purpose) in October 1930,8 and two years later the Hazel Orme Kindergarten was opened. It was at the time regarded as the model kindergarten building in the state, and at this centre many hundreds of children have since received elementary training in the art of living together. This was in no way a municipal venture, but the Council gave practical assistance and encouragement in the initial stages of this activity of the Kindergarten Union.

A request for the establishment of a high school in Fremantle came from the Parents and Citizens’ Association of the Fremantle Boys’ School in 1924. 9 It was raised again by the mayor in 1929 and again in 1934, but although the Director of Education on each occasion agreed that it was long overdue, nothing was done.

While municipal expenditure was limited to essential maintenance, there was one important new project at the beginning of the decade. This was the provision of an adequate system of storm-water drainage in the City Ward. This area, much of which is low-lying, had been subject to repeated flooding in winter-time, but by the end of 1931 it was evident that the work done to overcome this had been completely successful.

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Outside of municipal affairs the most important undertaking affecting Fremantle was undoubtedly the provision of a new traffic bridge. In July 1935 a deputation representing the Fremantle City Council, the Cottesloe Council and the Peppermint Grove and Buckland Hill Road Boards waited on the Minister for Works. 10 They were told that, so long as his engineers assured him that the bridge was safe, the minister would not recommend any expenditure in connection with the bridge. However, pressure was maintained and the decision to reconstruct the Perth-Fremantle Road, or Stirling Highway as it was called, on modern and durable lines made it necessary to complete the road link between port and capital by a modern bridge. After considerable discussion as to whether a steel or wooden structure should be erected, it was decided to utilize local timbers reinforced with concrete. On 15 December 1939, the new bridge was opened. Including approaches, it cost £74,600 and crossed the river at a point almost identical with that occupied by the old, temporary, low-level bridge of 1898. The original traffic bridge was immediately closed for traffic, but it was not until towards the end of 1947 that its demolition was begun.

The erection of the new bridge was timely. World War II had broken out three months earlier, and in the anxious years that followed the amount of traffic and the nature of the traffic that streamed across the bridge and along the Stirling Highway in both directions was so considerable that neither the old bridge nor the original highway could have coped with it.

On 4 September 1939, the night following Mr Chamberlain’s dramatic broadcast to the Empire, His Worship the Mayor, Mr F. E. Gibson, addressed the Council.

As you are aware, a state of war exists in this country. I am sure that it is the desire of every citizen to do all in his or her power to assist in the defence of the country and in helping to strengthen the hands of Britain and her allies overseas.

I think this assistance and help can best be rendered by refraining from expending our energies and resources on spectacular and unnecessary things, and by conserving them for the carrying on of the normal activities of the national life, and taking care as far as possible not to discourage or upset the lives of others.

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The knowledge of the intensity of the struggle ahead should be ever present in the mind of each individual, as on it depends the very existence of the Commonwealth of British Nations, and this knowledge should inspire us to be instantly ready to meet the needs of the hour and prepare ourselves in good time to meet those needs.

We have many people of different nationality ... in Fremantle. As individuals they are not responsible for the present state of affairs, and against them we have no grudge or hatred. I would like to appeal to all our citizens to extend to these people that courtesy and consideration which we ourselves would appreciate if we found ourselves in their position.

Meetings of citizens will shortly be called to organise those who are willing to assist in Air Raid Precaution measures and also Red Cross services.

During the Great War, Fremantle was second to none in Australia in supplying those services which were essential to the successful prosecution of the struggle, and I feel sure that the same enthusiastic, generous and self-sacrificing spirit which was made manifest then will be evidenced again now that the need is so much . . . greater. 11

Thus once more a halt was called to civic progress. Every effort of the Council was henceforth mobilized towards the prosecution of the war. Those were years of dark uncertainty for Fremantle. This was global war and the main port on the coast of Western Australia occupied a strategic significance that was a challenge to its very existence.

In June 1940 the Council decided, in view of pressing demands the war was making on the leisure time of every one of its members, to hold meetings only once a month. Meanwhile, it had formed itself into a committee of the whole to plan and undertake the air raid precautions necessary for the city and the district. 12

The first move towards an Air Raid Precaution organization for Fremantle was made a fortnight after the outbreak of war, when the mayor visited Professor Bayliss, Chief Warden, and discussed with him details of the organization. 13 Following this a school of instruction—the first in the state—was held in the Fremantle Town Hall during the months of September, October and November 1939. Graduates of this school subsequently occupied important positions in the organization: notably, Mr E. I. Wilkinson who later succeeded Professor Bayliss as Chief Warden; Mr L. P. (later Sir

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Laurence) Gadsdon, who, having organized a system of A.R.P. communications, afterwards became the Director of Communications (he was also the Mayor of the Town of Cottesloe); Councillor R. Evans, who was the first Head Warden for Fremantle City; and Mr M. A. G. Anderson, who became the Deputy Divisional Warden for the Fremantle Division.

This Division originally consisted of all the local governing bodies from Claremont to Fremantle. Later the Cottesloe Division was formed, and Fremantle then embraced all the area south of the river—Fremantle City, East Fremantle Municipality, and the Road Boards of Fremantle, Melville, Armadale-Kelmscott, Rockingham and Mundijong.

In the city proper there were four distinct A.R.P. areas: (a) residential, (b) business, (c) factory sites, (e) The Harbour Trust with its walls, sheds, approaches and railways.

The last-named formed its own organization, and appointed and trained personnel as wardens. In the city and residential areas there were 40 sectors, each under a senior warden. The residential areas were fully manned by the end of 1940, but in the city where few people resided all posts were under strength, when in April 1941 Mr A. Norrie was appointed Head Warden, with Councillor W. F. Samson as his Deputy. A Civil Defence Advisory Committee was formed during that month, consisting of Councillors Samson, Lee, Davies and Fisher Beard.

The entry of Japan into the war, followed by the fall of Singapore, the occupation of the Netherlands East Indies, the Philippines, Solomons and other Pacific areas, was a direct threat to the safety of Fremantle. A.R.P. training was immediately intensified and all sectors brought up to strength. In all shops, factories and warehouses, internal sectors were established and the employees were trained to report air-raid damage, to use stirrup-pumps, to give first-aid treatment, and to handle incendiary bombs.

Almost overnight Fremantle was blacked out, plate-glass windows were removed and shopfronts boarded up. Bunds were erected in the streets of the city, and hundreds of slit-trenches were constructed for civilian protection during air-raids.

The nerve-centre of the A.R.P. organization was the Control Centre, first at Paterson & Co.’s premises in Pakenham Street, but

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later in a specially constructed concrete bomb-proof bund on the Fremantle Golf Links.

The significance of Fremantle Harbour during those dark days and the extraordinary amount of congestion which existed there, what with transports, refugee ships and naval vessels arriving in unprecedented numbers, suggested that here was a very tempting target for enemy bombers. Fortunately, Australian, American and British naval forces were active on the high seas, and no attack was made, although on 10 June 1942 and 10 March 1944 genuine alerts did occur. These, if they did nothing else, tested the efficiency of the A.R.P. organization and emphasized the seriousness of the situation.

It is not possible to give in detail a categorical account of the services rendered by private individuals and business houses. Individuals gave freely of their time, corporations raised funds and purchased equipment, and owners of motor-cars offered them for ambulances and cars for sitting cases. Very often this involved considerable loss of both time and money, but where possible, expenditure was recouped. During the war, the Fremantle City Council spent £10,982. 6s. 4d. on civil defence, of which only £3,377. 7s. 6d. was refunded to them by the state government and the other local authorities.

These were indeed trying times for every single citizen, but to those in responsible positions the strain was intense. None shouldered his responsibility more cheerfully than the mayor, Mr. F. E. Gibson. When evacuation plans were prepared and circularized, he was visited by countless elderly people seeking his advice. Mr Gibson firmly assured them that they would be quite safe and that no enemy plane would dare approach Fremantle. He did so with a confidence he was far from feeling. Frequently he went home at night, wondering whether a raid would take place before morning.

Early in 1940, just after the fall of France a Home Defence Corps was formed at Fremantle. The idea originated in the mind of Councillor F. Fisher Beard who requested the mayor to convene a public meeting in the Town Hall. Prior to this meeting, a committee was formed to draw up a constitution for the new body. Among those actively interested in the committee stage of the movement were the mayor, Colonel Dunkley, Mr J. Tonkin, M.L.A., Councillor

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F. Fisher Beard and Messrs G. Thompson and N. Cullen. At the public meeting the Town Hall was filled to capacity, membership cards were distributed and most of those present were enrolled. The first parade was held on the Oval on the following Sunday.

This was the first body of its kind in Western Australia and its early formation indicated that the men of Fremantle were fully alive to their responsibility as citizens entrusted with the defence of their country in the event of attack. Colonel Dunkley was the Commanding Officer, and a staff sergeant-major was engaged to conduct schools for officer-training. They had no equipment; their rifles were dummies; but the weekly parades were enthusiastically attended.

When a few months later the formation of the Returned Soldiers’ League Volunteer Defence Corps was announced, the Fremantle body provided an already established unit. Later this became known as the Volunteer Defence Corps and the Fremantle area comprised units in districts south of the Swan and Helena Rivers. Parades were held at weekends and, although equipment was scanty at first, this was gradually remedied and an effective civilian army was built up. Councillor Fisher Beard, who had taken the initiative in the original corps, retained membership in the new one until 1942, when he resigned from both it and the Council because he was no longer residing in the district. Meanwhile, the V.D.C. continued to prepare for the defence of Fremantle and for the greater part of its existence was commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel J. E. P. Herlihy.

A feature of the war years was the Mayor’s Patriotic Fund which was inaugurated in July 1940 for the purpose of raising money for the care and entertainment of allied servicemen who passed through Fremantle or were based there. The Chairman was His Worship the Mayor; Councillor A. Hines was organizer, and the Town Clerk (the late Mr James Shepherd) was Hon. Secretary. During the war, £21,000 was raised by the committee for patriotic purposes. In addition to the provisions of meals and other amenities, a Services Hostel was opened in premises made available for the purpose by the Fremantle Gas Co. Here accommodation was provided nightly for 120 men and it was always fully availed of. Other committees were formed by church organizations, sporting bodies and citizens, notably the Salvation Army and the W.A. Sportsmen’s Council.

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Furthermore, older established bodies, such as the Red Cross, the British Sailors’ Society and the Mission to Seamen gave continuous service to men of the Allied Navies and Merchant Navies. On a number of occasions they were required to tend survivors of ships that had been sunk near our coast.

Particular mention should be made of the outstanding service of Councillor Hines. Throughout these years he was one of the busiest men in Fremantle, being in addition to Organizer of the Mayor’s Patriotic Fund, the citizens’ delegate to the Fremantle Branch of the W.A. Sportsmen’s Council, and Chairman of the British Sailors’ Society. He gave up the whole of his time to these services, and was tireless in his execution of them. With the mayor, he visited practically every warship that came into Fremantle Harbour. After the termination of hostilities. Councillor Hines was awarded an O.B.E., a distinction that was richly merited, and one upon which the Council, and indeed all citizens of Fremantle, joined in congratulating him.

Nor were the Council’s activities confined to the Mayor’s Patriotic Fund. Under its auspices were also conducted the Fremantle and Districts’ War Loan Committee, the H.MA.S. Sydney Fund, the Food For Britain Appeal and the U.N.N.R.A. Appeal.

The story of Fremantle Harbour during these years and afterwards is told in the next chapter. Suffice it briefly to mention here that over 300 British and Allied vessels of war visited the port.* Considerable work was done in maintenance, repairs and degaussing of both naval and merchant vessels. One Fremantle firm alone serviced 573 ships during the war years.

* For complete list of ships of war victualled in Fremantle during World War II, compiled by the Mayor’s Patriotic Fund, see Appendix 11.


1 Proclamation, M.F.M.C. 3 June 1929, F.T.H.

2 6 Edw. VII, No. 32, An Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to Municipalities.

3 Statistical Register of Western Australia 1928-9.

4 M.F.C.C. 3 June 1929, F.T.H.

5 Ibid. 6 Apr. 1936.

6 Ibid. 29 March 1937.

7 M.F.M.C. 3 May 1920.

8 M.F.C.C. 20 Oct. 1930.

9 M.F.M.C. 21 July 1924.

10 M.F.M.C. 15 July 1935.

11 Ibid. 4 Sept. 1939.

12 Ibid. 18 Sept 1939.

13 Ibid.

Go to Chapter 14: Fremantle Harbour and the Twentieth Century.

Garry Gillard | New: 2 July, 2021 | Now: 8 July, 2021