Fremantle Stuff > Cantonment Hill > images

Cantonment Hill images

Cantonment Hill is so called because there was a cantonment (military barracks) nearby. The road now called Queen Victoria St was formerly Cantonment Road, also indicating the promixity of the barracks. The Artillery Barracks (now Army Museum) in the banner photo above were built 1910-13. The Signal Station in the centre was in use only 1956-64 when the Fremantle Ports building superseded it.


This is Google Maps' [thank you] view from above, showing Cantonment Hill in relation to the river, etc. Most of the piece of land you can see between Queen Victoria St and Tuckfield St was held by the Federal Defence Dept - including the green bit near the top which is called Tuckfield 'Oval' (though it's triangular). Some of it - the scrubby-looking parts - are now held by the City of Fremantle. The Army Museum - in the former Barracks at the bottom of the picture - will continue as such. The houses along Queen Victoria St, known as the Gunners Cottage aka Married Quarters, have been renovated (2016). One of the houses on the opposite corner of the site has been alienated and is now private housing for some lucky family.

The former signal station appears to be at the end of Quarry St, but the road is actually gated off at the bottom of the hill, as is the whole area. You can make out a circular viewing platform - just to the north of the white building - which can be reached by a track open to the public, as it's outside the fence.

This is as close as you can get without special admission.

It looks like a ship's bridge.

See: it even has portholes.

A last close look before leaving. Why don't 'they' open it up, just for viewing from? Put it on the tram tour.


The Signal Station was opened to the public for one hour 1330-1430 on 2 June 2012 as part of Fremantle Heritage Week. I almost missed it, but got there with ten minutes to go - just time to take this and the following photos from the top deck. This one is looking north of east towards the City of Perth on the horizon.

The rail and old road bridges on the left. That huge shed in the foreground is still Dept of Defence property, I think. Or a bit of history we don't need. It's a shed.

Here's the enormous ugly shed again, and the viewing platform mentioned above.

The eastern end of the Port of Fremantle, featuring the rail bridge. My cheap camera didn't deal well with all this light.

The middle of the Port of Fremantle. Containers are unloaded on the North Wharf, while vehicles come off the ships tied up to the Victoria Quay (the southern wharf) because there is somewhere for them to stand until they are driven to dealers to be sold. That area is now fenced off - with serious razor wire - so punters like me can no longer walk along that part of the southern wharf.

Only two container ships today at the North Wharf, and three tugs at Victoria Quay east of the Passenger Terminal. It was opened in 1960-1962 when people still left Western Australia by ship, as I did at the end of 1967, from there. Streamers and all.

In the right foreground are some former Defence Dept houses which are currently unoccupied. I'll try to find out what's going on with them. In the left foreground, the Army Museum. Some people think such a thing is a good idea - like Anzac Day.

The City of Fremantle in 2012, with the Army Museum in the foreground. The tallest building in sight is the horrible block of flats called Johnston Court. All this is set to change, so enjoy the view while you can.

Looking southwards, the tallest building is now the Fremantle Hospital. You might be able to make out what is now the Fremantle Arts Centre, formerly an asylum, just below the Hospital and a bit to the right. On the skyline is the Monument, another glorification of war, as is the Army Museum which occupies most of the bottom of the shot.

A last view of the Signal Station as it is at this moment, going back down the hill. I am standing on land which as far as I know 'belongs' to me, as a Fremantle citizen, so it's nice to have been allowed on it for this one hour in something like a hundred years.


A couple of architectural fantasies





The Signal Station in early 2016. The scaffolding has since been removed. The fence has also been removed, tho the gate on the road is still padlocked.



Mid-2016. Looking good.

signal station

The banner photo at the top comes from the Wikipedia page for Cantonment Hill.

Garry Gillard | New: 29 May, 2015 | Now: 21 November, 2018