The Australian Women's Army Service (AWAS) was established on 13 August 1941, to release men from certain military duties for service with fighting units. The Service recruited women between the ages of 18 and 45 and they served in a variety of roles. Once their training was complete, they were posted to searchlight and gun stations. The work was very isolated in small camps and operated 24 hours a day.
The camp at Bibra Lake was pre-fabricated huts and some remnants of these still exist. This battery was attached to 66AA S/L Bty.
More information can be found here
The location of this camp is off Hope Rd and in the area that will soon be impacted by the Roe Hwy extension.
The Coolbellup resident gave us some pages from a book called “We Answered the Call” by Eileen (Reilly) Tucker. This book provides fascinating stories about the Bibra Lake camp and the women who were there. It is such a shame that this part of the Bibra Lake’s history has been forgotten.
In the book, it recalls how many of the girls never realised that there was a lake in close proximity due to the only access being via a bush track. The camp was well located in the bush and away from most through routes. One tale from the book is when the girls helped fight a small bush fire in the local area alongside the soldiers. During that evening a local Chinese market gardener staggered along the road. The AWAS treated his injuries, fed and cleaned him before he set off on his way. Two days later two boxes of fresh produce appeared at the camp, presumably as a 'thank you'
We should take the opportunity to remember and value these women who joined the army during World War II in oreder to protect and fight for our Country.
The Bibra Lake Residents Association have asked Cockburn Council to recognise and preserve this area as a heritage site. We believe this would give us the opportunity to not only remember these courageous young women, but also to provide information to our residents and visitors about the stories of how they lived in the camp site during this important time in Australia's history.
The original Jandakot Hotel was built in 1901 by Walter Lawrence who was also licensee. The photograph below from Cockburn Library is of this 1901 hotel.
After fire destroyed the place in 1909 the current building was constructed. It is constructed of pressed brick made by Riley of Armadale.The original entrance, angled across the front corner, was a distinctive characteristic of the turn of the century hotel. The picture below is reproduced with kind permission of the Azelia Ley Homestead Museum. More information on the Azelia Ley Homestead Museum can be found here. The road in the foreground used to be the main road to Fremantle before being replaced by North Lake Road located a little further to the South.
In the above 1953 aerial photograph, there can be seen the outline of a track. We believe that this was the Jandakot racecourse which attracted many patrons to the hotel. Between 1909 and 1938 the hotel had many owners, including Hartley, Alf Gillam, a lady named Baldwin and John Visser who sold the property to Mr and Mrs Lucken in 1938.
The Luckens used the property as a private residence with a small grocery shop where the bar used to be.
The original verandah was damaged in a storm and has been replaced with modern materials.
Recently this property has been advertised for sale for the first time since 1938 and is available to anyone with a spare $1.7 million.