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Beaconsfield Challenger TAFE

Challenger Institute, Western Australia's oldest technical educational institution, was established in 1898 with evening classes conducted at the Fremantle Boys School.

Throughout the years, various name changes have taken place: South Metropolitan Technical College, South Metropolitan College of TAFE and now, Challenger TAFE. Challenger is taken from the HMS Challenger which was a 28-gun sixth rate (a classification used by the Royal Navy to categorise small sailing warships armed with 20-28 carriage-mounted guns) that was in part responsible for the creation of the Swan River colony in 1829, under the command of Charles Fremantle.

Very little information can be found about the Beaconsfield Challenger TAFE other than endless documention and mentions of the Heart of Beaconsfield project. In a nutshell, the plan is to demolition a massive area of Beaconsfield, which largely comprises of social housing. Then start all over again, although with an approximate 30% reserved for social housing. Still, a huge proportion of dwellings now available for purchasing publicly.

The Beaconsfield TAFE appears to have been built 65 years ago and closed in 2018.

01 - December 2020

My first explore of the Beaconsfield TAFE would've been no more than two months after I started losing my fear, for reasons I shan't explain.

It was a dark night with no moon in sight. Strong gales of winds from time to time, more intense than the usual Doctor. I was alone and I wasn't sure what to expect, other than being told there were a number of cameras in the vicinity of the abandoned TAFE. I didn't think a security guard would be present but as always, it was good to be on high alert.

Once inside, the noises at times were continuous. Largely from banging doors and flaps of this and that. A Spectur STA6 camera was located in the quadrangle of the TAFE, its light source occasionally flickering on in response to the violent movements of the trees. Certainly not my favourite camera, what with its long-range 4K thermal imaging, multiple sensors and whatnot. Compared to the harmless HD5 cameras anyway, which were probably more for decoration than anything.

I limited the use of my handheld torch, walking around in the dark and wrapped with the cool breeze from the strong winds that would only become colder as the night ticked its way closer to midnight.

At the time, it didn't feel like many people had been there yet and I hoped it would stay that way for some time. Although, a stream of urbexers, painters and the like, would certainly mean a lot more areas of the TAFE would become accessible, seeing how many doors were currently locked.

The atmosphere was eerie, what with a heightened unanticipation of my new surroundings, particularly with what could be waiting for me around the corner. A sense I didn't actually mind, as back then I would always say that I loved the night because it was like everybody was dead and I could finally enjoy the world. Darkness, like a blanket covering this munted world and all it's BS drama and egotistic people. Places of abandonment made the loneliness so much more intriguing.

 

Every step I took as always, was quieter than a mouse. I never saw the point in coming into unknown territory and making so much noise, particularly in places where you weren't exactly legally welcome. Silence was a form of respect, like not touching, moving or damaging anything. Quietness and nobody stepping in the way of my photos, certainly an advantage as well as a strong preference to exploring and documenting my surroundings on my own. Obviously, one of the many rules that are frowned upon in an environment with all its potential dangers.

I only stayed two hours. It wasn't my favourite place, most likely because it didn't have a personal feel to it. An abandoned house has personal stories and mysteries of unknown history that make everything you see feel so much more important. Schools like TAFEs tend to feel like the same institutions all over. Still, every abanadoned place can be interesting depending on the right mindset, mirroring life.

02 - December 2020

03 - February 2021