Fremantle Stuff > slipways


There were two major slipways sites in Fremantle Harbour, the first on Rous Head from 1909, the second constructed during the Second World War, in use from September 1942. The second one still exists, and displays HMAS Ovens, an Oberon class submarine.

The Rous Head slipway, completed in 1909 as a ‘temporary’ measure until a more permanent facility could be constructed, was operated by the Fremantle Harbour Trust. It had a capacity of 650 tons, with a cradle of 185 feet able to accommodate vessels to a maximum keel length of 160 feet. Although there were many private slipways at Fremantle Harbour and elsewhere at the time, they were generally small outfits. The Government was keen to build a large slipway capable of accommodating the largest ships of the State Shipping Service as well as military and commercial vessels, and to operate it as a public venture. Sherriff: 106-7.

The following photo by George Davidson is the only one I've ever seen which shows the North Slipyard on Rous Head - in the distant background - towards the left.


Thanks to the FHC for this c. 1930s photo by George Davidson #2379.

These vessels conveyed the lumpers (waterside workers) to the various landings along North Wharf (Quay). The Ivanhoe and Victor II were Harbour Trust owned; the remainder privately chartered. The tug Wyola is visible on the right. In the background is the original slipway which was abandoned during WWII.


Fremantle South Slipways (No 2 at left, No 1 at right), c 1960 (Courtesy Fremantle Port Authority)

In 2019, the Maritime Museum would be standing on the left of this photo, the slipway on the left empty, and the HMAS Ovens would be on the slipway on the right. As seen below.



References and Links

Sherriff, Jacqui 2001, 'Fremantle South Slipway: a vital World War II defence facility', Fremantle Studies, 2: 106-119.

Garry Gillard | New: 2 October, 2017 | Now: 15 November, 2019