A wonderful piece of architectural and military history has been unveiled as the latest jewel in Fremantle’s heritage crown. The Gunners’ Cottages, a series of 10 cottages along the Queen Victoria Street entrance to Fremantle, have been given a multi-million dollar facelift by Defence Housing Australia (DHA) following its purchase of the site in 2013.
‘They were once the home to the soldiers who manned the guns at Fremantle and we plan for the Cottages, along with the six new dwellings that have been constructed on the site, to again be home to Defence members,’ DHA Chairman Sandy Macdonald said.
Prior to DHA purchasing the site the neglected Cottages had been empty for more than a decade. They had gradually become more dilapidated and were filled with graffiti. The local community where horrified that an important part of Fremantle history had been left to ruin.
‘When we acquired this site we knew we had an obligation to the City of Fremantle, and to the people of Fremantle. Fremantle is renowned for its architecturally rich landscape, and we are honoured to be unveiling a restored piece of that landscape today,’ Mr Macdonald said.
‘This project was all about restoring these historical cottages to their former glory and creating a legacy for Fremantle, and the many Defence members and their families who lived here over a period of almost 90 years.’
The Cottages are part of what was the Artillery Barracks, which represents one of only a few complete groups of historical building in Western Australia. There are 10 dwellings within the Barracks that were built during the second stage of construction and completed in 1913.
DHA, the federal government agency responsible for providing quality housing for Defence members across Australia, has named each of the Cottages named after a Defence member, all of whom had strong links to the Fremantle area or who lived in one of the cottages.