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Rottnest Island - WA

sunny 26 °C

Less than 12 miles off the coast from Fremantle lise the idyllic island of Rottnest. Settled by Europeans in 1831, it was used as an Aboriginal prison between 1838 and 1902. In 1917, in recognition of its scenic beauty and rich bird life, the island became a protected area and today it is a popular tourist destination. Rottnest's coastline comprises beaches, coves, reefs salt lakes and several visible shipwrecks.
Private cars are not allowed on the island, the only way to get around is by bike, bus or on foot.
We decided to hire bikes, and snorkelling gear and go explore!
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As we left Barrack St Jetty, we had some great view back to Perth.
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Barrack St Jetty area is under going major $20million renovation
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you can see the ambitious plans here.

On the way over to Rottnest, we had the pleasure of seeing some local dolphins playing in the waves of the ferry.
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There's a video online here:

Passing Fremantle we saw a Tuscan style villa
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and the most expesnvie 'house' ever sold in Australia
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and sailed right through the main harbour, Fremantle Harbour is Western Australia's largest and busiest general cargo port
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and on past the Maritime Museum, which reminded me of my next destination - Sydney!
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Rottnest Island played a key role in Australia's coastal defence. In 1933 Rottnest Island was identified as being critical to the defence of metropolitan Perth as guns on the island could engage hostile ships before they were in range of the port of Fremantle.

The Army Jetty once known as the Excusionists Jetty wa originally built in 1907. In the early 1900's it was the main point of entry to Rottnest Island.
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During this time a tram way connected the jetty to the Settlement.
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Kingston Barracks complex was built during the late 1930's to accommodate Royal Australian Artillery and Royal Australian Engineer personnel stationed on Rottnest Island as part of the coastal defences.

Royal Australian Engineers (RAE) are engineers within the armed services. Known as ‘Sappers’ they are fighting soldiers in their own right.
These administrative offices were purpose built for the RAE in 1938 and were occupied by the Corps throughout WWII.
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Construction during this era was to a very high standard and no expense was spared with beautifully constructed built-in jarrah furniture throughout. To combat the Rottnest Island salt-laden air, copper guttering and downpipes were fitted to all buildings in the complex. Ornamental features were also incorporated in the construction. The weathervane on this roof for example, resembles an engine. The engineers were responsible for major engineering projects on the island, including the construction of tunnels, the installation of gun emplacements and the supply of power and portable water.

Originally built for the Royal Australian Artillery (RAA) as administration offics, this building was constructed in 1938.
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During the height of the World War II the artillery soldiers known as 'gunners' played a vital role in the protection of the state and country, manning the 9.2 inch guns at the Oliver Hill Battery and the 6 inch guns at Cickley Battery protecting Rottnest Island tand the port of Fremantle from attack.
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Accomodation Block = If the Coastal Defence Batteries needed to bolster the garrison these Barracks could accommodate up to 150 personnel. The verandahs which wrap around the Barracks could be transformd into makeshift sleepouts with jarrah partitioning.
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Bickley Battery remnants of WWII, when two 6 inch gun protected the south passage to Fremantle from enemy ships.
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Between 1941 and 1944 the guns were manned 24 hours a day and military personnel from all three services, the Army, Navy and Airforce, were stationed on the island.
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The Plotting Room - information on enemy targets collected from the Observatry POsts, were translmitted to this Plotting Room. Target position was then p[lotted on a large horizontal mechanical table. Bearing and range were then transmitted to the 6 inch gund at Gickley Battery in order to effectivelt engage enemy ships.
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Signal Ridge Wadjemuo Hill was chosen in the mid 1800's as the site of the first Lighthouse because it is the highest point on the island some 50m above sea level. From Signal Ridge, the 9.2 inch guns located at Oliver hill are visible to the south east.
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Construction of the lighthouse beganin 1842. It was built with Rottnest Island limestone from Navy Cove by Aboriginal prisoners. It is recognised as the first stone lighthouse contructed and lit in Western Australia.
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However, despite this 7 more ships were wrecjed on the reefs around Rottenst between 1878 and 1891. It was decided to built a new lighthouse twice as high and with a more powerful lamp.
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The light was initially fuelled by heavy mineral oil, but a new mercury float type of pedestal and clockwork revolving mechanism were fitted in 1929.
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It's a pretty small motor for such a big mechanism
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the light was later electricfid in 1936.
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Howebver, the bulb remains relatively large compared with moden bulbs in use in lighthouses!
It still maintains it original, rotating lens
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and only became fully automatic in 1990.
Although, I wouldn't want to test the earth cable in a lightening storm...
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We had a great tour to the top
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where we could appreciate some amazing views, back to Salmon Bay
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and across to the Salt Lakes and the road we wrre about to cycle down
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Oliver Hill consists of tunnel structures supporting two 9.2 inch guns and railway lines.

Henrietta Rocks - Rottnest reefs have proven treacherous for many mariners with three vessels running aground at this site. In fact, the shores, reefs and island of Rottnest have claimed over 12 vessels since 1842.
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The Quokka are somewhat bigger than a cat, and are a type of wallaby.
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Although there is a small mainland population in western Australia, this is the best place to spot them.
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Osprey nests can be seen around the island. Some of these are known to be more than 70 years old Osprey stay faithful to their nesting sites, using the same stack for many years. the nests are built out of sticks, seaweed, rope and bones.
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King's Skink can often be spotted darting amongst the limestone rocks or across the road. Large dark-coloured lizards they are found only on the south-west coast and offshore islands.
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This fella was running across the beach and as I went to move a branch out the way to get a better view... he bit me! thankfully, the paperwork says 'they're harmless'!!!

One of the best spots for snorkelling is Little Salmon Bay, off Point Parker Point,
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where on a good day, you can follow a snorkel trail,
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made up of under water signs around 2m meters deep.
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On this day however, the sea was pretty rough, so we gave it our best shot, but after so many waves down the snorkel, we were defeated.
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We did see some fish though...
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and some coral
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Before giving up and, after battling the strong current and waves to get out the sea
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(me in hysterics at this point)
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we opted for a bit of sun bathing!
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As we returned, the sun was setting over Perth
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and Barrack St Jetty
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and I was looking like I'd been wind swept and surfed out.. for some reason!
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Posted by charlystyles 13:44 Archived in Australia Tagged rottnest_island

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