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02 - River Drain Tunnel

River Drain Tunnel

Following my first explore of this drain tunnel, my impressions were certainly that of an old war tunnel that had been repurposed as a drain, like many potentially are. This was supported by my research findings that many war tunnels are located in close proximity to the river, enabling army personnel to quickly and safely enter the tunnel without exposing themselves to the enemy's line of fire. The same factor applying to the re-supply of covert army establishments via a network of tunnels.

In a telephone conversation with Ron Bodycoat (an acclaimed and highly experienced architect who was tasked with writing the heritage assessment report for the East Perth and South Fremantle Power Stations) and upon seeing my photos, he commented that the Leighton Battery tunnels looked very similar to some of my photos, prior to its restoration. Potential confirmation this little-known tunnel played a role in World War 2.


Still... it felt like something was missing and perhaps it was the lack of definitive evidence that failed to confirm this conclusion once and for all.

Approximately 18 months after my first explore, the truth finally became known from an old newspaper article dated 1946. This tunnel was nothing more than a mere drain, having been built in approximately 1906.


In the article, the safety of the tunnel was of utmost concern to a local councillor, who raised it as an issue, particularly as a double tramline ran over it. He advocated for the services of a highly qualified underground engineer to conduct an assessment. The other Council members failed to agree and instead, decided they would inspect the tunnel for themselves.

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