City of Cockburn, PO Box 1215, Bibra Lake DC, Western Australia, 6965
Telephone: (08) 9411 3444

Cockburn Heritage Markers

 

 

Limestone Kilns

The Coogee Lime Kilns are located on lot 700 of Cockburn Sound Location 418, on Cockburn Road, Coogee, adjacent to the Len McTaggart Park. They were established in the late 1890's and early 1900's for the manufacture of commercial quantities of lime to serve the building and mining industries, which developed rapidly during the gold boom. 

With their prominent Cockburn Road location, the Coogee lime kilns are a rare example of early twentieth century single chamber rectangular lime kilns, still remaining in the metropolitan area. 

Constructed for the production of quick-lime, these kilns were part of the important lime burning industry in the cockburn district in the first half of the twentieth century, and instrumental in the economic development of the area.  They provided work for many Yugoslav and Italian migrants who had settled in Cockburn. 

The kilns are understood to have ceased working in the 1930's, although the area continues to be associated with lime production through the location of Cockburn Cement Limited in the district.

Woodman Point Lighthouse

Built in 1902 of local limestone, the nearby lighthouse was constructed as a Leading Light marking the fairway into Gage Roads.  At the time it replaced the Arthur Head Lighthouse to provide shipping with a safe route via Gage Roads into the newly constructed Fremantle Harbour, designed by C.Y. O'Conner.  A second light was added as an aid to shipping servicing Kwinana.  Messrs Hutchinson and Arthur Dray were the first lighthouse keepers. 

They lived at the base of the lighthouse in the two federation bungalow cottages that are still there today.  The last lighthouse keepers before the light was automated were Messrs L. McBride and L. Livesey.  While the coastal area covered by the lighthouse has assisted navigators since 1902, many marine incidents still occur due to inclement weather, navigational hazards, breakdowns, or decision making by navigators. 

From the earliest settlement ships have floundered off the coast and sunk or were driven ashore.  Some of the more famous shipwrecks include the Lancier (1839), Zedora (1875), Day Dawn (1886), Dato (1893) and the Sepia (1898).

Market Gardeners, Fruit Growers & Flower Growers

From the earliest days of the Swan River colony, people came form all parts of the colony, the eastern states and overseas to apply their knowledge and skills, or in some cases, to start a new life.  The Cockburn district owes a large part of its early development and current prosperity to these people; the market gardeners, fruit growers and flower growers. 

They cleared the land, fenced it built their homes and cultivated the land to produce some of the best products available in the metropolitan area.  The varying soil types were quickly ascertained and vegetables, fruit trees and flowers planted where they produced the best yields, they used the wetlands as a major source of water, and the generally accessible ground water for their crops.  Their produce was initially transported on wagons over rough bush tracks, limestone trails and plank roads, before more substantial roads were constructed and rail transport introduced. 

In 1913 the establishment of the Fruit Grower's and Market Gardener's Association did much to progress not only the grower's needs, but also that of the whole community.  At market the presentation of the produce was changed and an auction system introduced.  This enabled growers to receive an improved return and also resulted in prizes being award for grapes, onions, carrots and a range of other vegetables grown in the district.  Around this time the famous "Spearwood Globe" onion was developed. 

Using Spanish plants Messrs Mayor and Brindle with the help of a Mr Frank Simper, the secretary of the association, developed an onion that became recognised far and wide. 

Today few properties remain to remind us of this rich and prosperous part of our heritage.

Pensioner Guards

Lake Koojee Village at Cockburn Sound was established between 1876 and 1885. The cottages, on 20 acre lots were planned to house twenty families of the Enrolled Pensioner Force, all of whom were veterans of the British Army and had served in various campaigns.  These ex-soldiers volunteered to act as guards on the ships transporting convicts to Western Australia. 

More than 2000 men and their families from the United Kingdom and Ireland arrived on 36 ships between 1850 and 1868.  For their services they were allotted a plot of land in various Pensioner Villages from Greenough to Albany.  Their duties included acting as guards at convict depots and road gangs, performing guard duties at Government House, the Ammunition Magazine, and to be available when called.  Many worked in the general work force including warders at Fremantle prison and in the Police and Water Police forces. 

The Pensioner Force was disbanded in 1880, but continued to serve as the Enrolled Guard until 1887.  Descendants of the original grantees still reside in the Coogee area.

 

The Tea Rooms

In 1934, James and Lily Poole built their weatherboard home that included the tearooms, on a site about 30 metres south west of this point.  The sinking of a bore allowed the family to establish the Green, an area we all enjoy today. 

Long queues would form outside the tearooms for fish and chips, lollies, cool drinks, ice creams, ice-blocks and even a billy of boiling water throughout the holidays while other chose to relax on the verandah enjoying tea, sandwiches and cakes. 

On Saturday afternoons couples danced on the Green to the latest rock and roll music played over a speaker system.  William (Bill) Lockwood purchased the property in 1944 and then on-sold it to his brother Cecil John Alfred (Jack) Lockwood who continued to operate it as a general store.  

The 1950s saw the birth of the male bodgies and the female widgies. They would arrive on their motorbikes and cars to enjoy the summer breezes, rock and roll music and to display the latest fashion trends in clothing and hairstyles.  They added to the community spirit of the locality and the memories held by so many today. 

The Lockwoods decided to demolition the tearooms around 1959 as they had opened a general store across the way on Cockburn Road .  This had the added benefit of attracting the increasing motorised passing trade as well as the beach goers.

The Boatsheds

Up to fifty boatsheds were dotted along the Coogee Beach sand dunes facing majestically out to sea.  They dominated the landscape for more than thirty years.  Most were made of weatherboard with corrugated iron roofs.  Many doubled as holiday homes with iron framed beds and bunks with kapok mattresses, woollen army blankets, kerosene refrigerators, kerosene or gas stoves, small sinks, Tilly lanterns, kitchenettes and wooden tables or crates used as tables and chairs provided the necessary comforts for those special holidays at the coast. 

The winter storms of 1946 and 1962 wreaked havoc, however it was the storms of June and July 1964 that caused the destruction of many of them.  By 1966 they had disappeared forever, the last few being dismantled and re-located or the timber used for other purposes such as home garages. 

The Coogee Hotel

Built in 1901 by Walter Powell, the Coogee Hotel became a landmark with its picturesque lawns and gardens.  Brass bands added to the ambience.  Being the first stop on the Fremantle to Mandurah route meant a horseshoe shaped turning circle being built to accommodate the many coaches, wagons and sulkies. 

Following the extension of the railway line south to Woodman Point in 1903 and a station stop opposite, the hotel became popular with newly weds and soon became known as Powells Honeymoon Hotel.  Additional patronage came from workers at the nearby limekilns, abattoirs, smelters, dairies, market gardens and those who attended Powells private racetrack, where the annual Coogee Cup was a sought after trophy. 

Powells death and the start of WW 1 led to a gradual decline in patronage and the hotels licence was surrendered in 1927.  The building remained vacant until 1931 when the Anglican Church purchased it to establish the Saw Anglican Childrens Seaside Home where it was used for holiday camps and fulltime care for children until it closure in 1967.  The property was transferred in 1971 to the Mains Roads Department, the current owners. 

Since then the site has been used for various community and business purposes.

The Coogee Post Office

Designed by a Mr Burnett and built by Jock McKinnon in about 1928 the building is a fine example of the earliest type of construction in the locality.  McKinnon was the brother-in-law of Walter Powell, the builder of the adjoining Coogee Hotel. 

The original Coogee Post Office had been located about one kilometre south of this point, near the limekilns kilns.  It was relocated nearer to the hotel as a means of the two businesses drawing patronage for each other. 

The post office was a well-known meeting place with the mailbags being delivered by train from Fremantle on a daily basis.  The property was transferred in 1971 to the Mains Roads Department, the current owners. 

Since then it has been used mainly as short-term accommodation.

Powells Dairy

Walter Powell was one of the earliest entrepreneurs of the district having arrived in the Swan River colony in the mid 1880s.  He had served on the Fremantle District Road Board from 1887 to 1890 and also occupied a shop in High Street Fremantle next to the National Hotel. 

He advertised his business as that of an importer of fancy goods, brackets, vases, picture frames and games of every description.  Following the death of his wife, Letitia in 1901 he built the Coogee Hotel, operated a private racetrack nearby and operated a dairy at this location. 

The property was mainly unfenced and hence the cows were seen to wander far and wide returning at milking time of their own accord.  While some milk was sold locally the majority of it was carted daily into Fremantle to supply the increasing needs of a growing population. 

The Cockburn district was a major supplier of milk from its dairies extending through Spearwood and Hamilton Hill and out to Bibra Lake and Jandakot.    

Market Gardeners, Fruit Growers and Flower Growers

From the earliest days of the Swan River colony, people came from all parts of the colony, the eastern states and overseas to apply their knowledge and skills, or in some cases, to start a new life. 

The Cockburn district owes a large part of its early development and current prosperity to these people; the market gardeners, fruit growers and flower growers who cleared the land, fenced it, built their homes and cultivated the land to produce some of the best food products available in the metropolitan area. 

The varying soil types were quickly ascertained and vegetables, fruit trees and flowers planted where they produced the best yields.  They used the wetlands as a major source of water and the generally accessible supplies of ground water for their crops.  Their produce was initially transported to market on wagons over rough bush tracks, limestone trails and plank roads before more substantial roads were constructed and rail transport introduced. 

 In 1913, the establishment of The Fruit Growers and Market Gardeners Association did much to progress, not only the growers needs, but also that of the whole community.  At market, the presentation of the produce was changed and an auction system introduced. 

This enabled growers to receive an improved return and also resulted in prizes being awarded for grapes, onions, carrots and a range of other vegetables grown in the district.  Around this time, the famous Spearwood Globe onion was developed.  Using Spanish plants, Messrs Mayor and Brindle with the help of a Mr Frank Simper, the Secretary of the Association developed an onion that became recognised far and wide. 

Today, few properties remain to remind us of this rich and prosperous part of our heritage.

Transport

The early days in the Swan River colony saw many people walking to their destination, riding horses, or using sulkies and wagons.  Their produce of fresh vegetables, fruit, eggs, flowers, milk, honey and fish was initially transported to market on wagons over rough bush tracks, limestone trails and plank roads before more substantial roads were constructed and rail transport introduced. 

Getting to work or socialising was also limited to the earlier modes of transport and people sometimes walked a round trip of twenty miles or thirty two kilometres to attend work, dances, to go shopping, or just to go to the pub. 

The advent of bicycles, motorised transport, including two bus services, the Alpine Motor Service and the Silver Lining Motor Service and the railway quickly changed the face of the community and brought a new sense of prosperity and optimism. 

The Coogee Beach Shop

In 1959 Lovre Sumich and his wife, Zlatica Sumich acquired a lease on the land where the Coogee Cafe now stands.  Steve Perica & Son were contracted to build the brick walled and iron-roofed premises that was to become known to generations as the Coogee Beach shop. The Sumich family were keen for it to be opened before summer as they wanted to take advantage of the school holiday period to get their business established. 

They got their wish with the shop opening in December 1959.  It wasnt unusual to see long queues of people waiting to get their feed of fish and chips, cool drinks or ice-creams, a tradition that continued for the next forty seven years. 

On Saturday afternoons couples danced on the Green opposite to the latest rock and roll music played over a speaker system.  Male bodgies and female widgies frequented the location, their bikes and cars parked prominently near the Green.  Syd Kent held the shop lease from 1965 1971; George Separovich from 1971 1977 and Peter and Pat Mincherton 1977 1979. 

On 1 July 1979, Arthur and Hazel Tebby took up the lease and it was to become their home away from home as they worked diligently for the next 26 years providing a service that was to make them household names throughout Cockburn and much further afield.  It was Thursday 23 June 2005 when the Tebbys closed the door for the final time. 

A chapter in Cockburns history had also closed.  Demolition of the shop commenced almost immediately followed by the construction of the new Coogee Cafe which was officially opened on 19 May 2006.