Leighton Battery Tunnel Tours
The Leighton Battery is open for tunnel tours every Sunday (unless otherwise stated on their website or socials) from 10am to 3pm every week. It is conducted by the Royal Australian Artillery Historical Society (RAAHS) who volunteer their time to run the tour program.
Adult entry is $10 and children aged between 6-16 years old is $4, with no concessions offered. Cash or EFTPOS/Credit as payment.
To access the tour location, you'll see the signage starting from the carpark 400m away on Boundary Road in Mosman Park.
Tours start every 20 minutes and apparently take an hour but I'm sure it only lasted about 30 minutes, as the lights and audio accompanying each of the 14 rooms was so quick!
Tunnels during WW2
The original tunnel plan was to connect the Battery Observation Post to each of the three guns, although the 300m of tunnel networks, with all the rooms attached to it, was apparently only required during the time the 6in guns were in operation.
The Battery Commander was a mining engineer and many of the Royal Army Engineers who were attached to the artillery section, were from Kalgoorlie, armed with extensive knowledge about tunnels. It was said to only take a few weeks for them to construct a network of tunnels and it wasn't long before they were able to join them all up!
The original tunnel entrance was apparently never used and after being blocked off, the main entrance was on the eastern side of the Battery (it was filled in after the army vacated the site and still is) (The Aiming Post 4/99).
The volunteers from the (RAAHS) are there to run the tunnel program and are most likely sick to death of being asked about the continuing 'mythological' tunnels that were said to exist in the 1960's and 1970's. Even if you ask any kid from back then, the hundreds if not thousands of kids who would spent their time playing in them... the tunnels that extend past what you can see in the tour... don't exist. Just like any plans.
But wait... isn't that normal for government places or military secrets, despite time passing as long as 79 years?
When asking the tour host upon exiting the tunnel tour about the two supply tunnels that were said to exist, he quite plainly said they didn't.
Western Australia’s leading army historian Graham McKenzie-Smith, would later clear this up once and for all. The tunnel that stretched out towards Buckland Hill, turned right to go to the Army Barracks. The tunnel has long since been completely filled in and the barracks demolished.
NO supply tunnel for the Leighton Battery
was ever built on or from the water’s edge!
Despite many children from the 1960’s and 70’s claiming to have once played in “tunnels from the Swan River that went to the Leighton Battery”, it must be finally cleared up once and for all. Whilst there is no doubt that kids DID play in the tunnels, most connected from the river to the old industrial factories for drainage or water-intake purposes.
Go check out the tunnel tour! (It's nice and cool during hot summers too).
The Aiming Post. November 1999, Issue 4/99.