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Kingstown Barracks

The Kingstown Barrack Complex is one of the most well preserved areas of Rottnest Island and played an important role in the coastal defence of Western Australia during WW2. The Barracks was largely used for training camps right up to 1984.


Today this popular area offers a variety of accommodation types, particularly hostel dorms and cottages. Located very close to the beach, it’s also fairly close to the Settlement with the bus regularly pulling in on its route to take people around the island.


Constructing the Barrack Complex

Work began constructing the main Barracks in late 1936 by contractor F.J. Deacon for a contract price of £28,669 (2). A number of other buildings were also constructed at the same time including the Detail Issue Depot, office buildings, mess buildings, officer’s cottages and various sheds and stores.


Upon completion in 1937, it would serve to accommodate 150 personnel. The contract for furnishings was tendered out to Millars Timber and Trading Coy Ltd for £3,319.


Initially, the barracks would accommodate troops from the 6th Heavy Battery Royal Australian Artillery (RAA) and the 5th Fortress Company Royal Australian Engineers (RAE).

1938 saw the second phase of construction begin at the Barracks, with the tender being awarded to Todd Brothers of Cleaver Street, Perth. They would go on to construct the RAA and RAE administration offices, officer’s mess, canteen and married quarters.


In the third and final stage in that same year, Todd Brothers would construct additional married quarters, the hospital, parade ground and a number of other small buildings for a cost of £6,480.


H. Hoyle of Subiaco constructed the hospital, located at the rear of the Barracks for £2,787.


The last of the construction work at and around the Kingstown Barracks was completed by 1939.


By this time, the troop strength on the Island was thought to be around 4000 but by 1942 it was substantially reduced to 2500 (2).



28 May 1941 – A report is received from Kingstown Barracks that Gunner W233743 Wesley Augustus Fitch RAA has accidentally been killed (AWM2020.71.7560).


10 June 1941 – An inquest is held on the Island into the death of Gunner Fitch by Assistant Coroner Mr J Stack (AWM2020.71.7560).


16 July 1941 – A Field Dental Unit arrives from the mainland to establish a dental clinic at Kingston Barracks (AWM2020.71.7560).


06 January 1943 - Army locations on Rottnest Island under 15 Aust Fortress Company:

  • 39 Aust Works Section – Kingstown Barracks – Works Section less detachment

  • 60 Aust Works Section – Kingstown Barracks – Electrical and Mechanical Engineers Section

  • 87 Aust Depot Section – Kingstown Barracks – Depot Section (AWM2020.71.3763)


1984  - The army relinquish Kingstown Barracks to the State Government (1).


December 1984 - After being used as a training establishment for over 40 years, the Kingston Barracks was acquired by the State Government and handed back to the State (3).


1986  – Kingstown is developed as a Centre for Environmental Education (1).




(1) Oliver Hill Battery Conservation Assessment for Rottnest Island Authority - GB Hill & Partners Pty Ltd (November 2005).

(2) Ralph Hoare Architect: Kingstown Barracks Conservation Plan June 2000.

(3) Rottnest Island Management Plan – Volume 1 The Plan (August 1985)


AWM2020.71.3763 - 8 Anti-Aircraft & Fortress Company - July to December 1943 - Appendices

AWM2020.71.7560 - 10 Garrison Battalion - January to December 1941

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