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Heritage and Conservation

The Naval Base Shacks have been a family holiday destination since 1933, which many of the first shacks built when Garden Island became a Naval Base.

The lifestyle is a way of life that many like minded West Australian families do enjoy. The weekend escape and holiday destination to a less complicated world has it’s merits, a world without television and computers where families sit and talk to one another and enjoy each others company, swim, fish, surf and interact.

This lifestyle has been going on for generations at Naval Base and is a refreshing change from the every day hustle and bustle of the 21st Century.

The Naval Base Shack site is a defined Heritage area - the establishment of the official Hertiage Park is due to significant effort of Shack Owners, Committee Members and Key Stakeholders during 2011 - 2013. View the Naval Base Holiday Park Heritage Park Policy Documentation.

The Naval Base Holiday Park is a significant site.

The Heritage Council of WA (HCWA) Guide to identifying, grading and documenting places in Local Government Inventories (LGI) sets out well established ‘best practice’ procedures and criteria for the identification and assessment of heritage places. The guidelines state:

“The assessment of significance – understanding the values and importance or a place or area – is the basis of all good heritage decisions”

“A place or area will be of significance if it meets one or more of the criteria in section 2 under the headings of Aesthetic, Historic, Research or Social value”

The Statement of Significance in the City of Cockburn  2004 Inventory makes strong and compelling statements regarding the significance of the Shacks. It states that the place has:

  • “aesthetic, historic, representative, social and rarity cultural heritage significance.”
  • “representative significance as a good example of holiday camps which used to exist along the Western Australian Coastline but have disappeared in the face of development”

The Statement of Significance concludes by saying that “the place is therefore unique and has significant rarity heritage value”

The HCWA Guidelines and the City’s Town Planning Scheme provide for the identification of Heritage Areas. The HCWA guidelines state that a Heritage Area will be of significance for the local district if:

“(a) it meets one or more of the criteria in section 2 under the headings of Aesthetic, Historic, Research, or Social significance; and

(b) it demonstrates a unified or cohesive physical form in the public realm with an identifiable aesthetic, historic or social theme associated with a particular period or periods of development.”

The Naval Base Shacks clearly meet these criteria and as such is a Heritage Area!

An added advantage of identifying the Naval Base site as a Heritage Area is the requirement in the TPS for Heritage Areas to be to be supported by a Local Planning Policy. The adoption of a Local Planning Policy for the site will not only be able to set out requirements that recognise the heritage significance of the place  but also address health and building standards, facilitating a balanced approach to resolving the apparently conflicting issues of heritage significance and ‘normal’ standards.

Naval Base Caravan Park has been used for recreation by many generations of families from not only Cockburn but from a wide range of metropolitan and country locations. It is a spot to visit friends, exercise, and enjoy our beautiful coast. The Naval Base Shacks have been there for 70 years and are part of a vanishing history of Australia. They should be heritage listed and left as they are. The Shacks are a living reminder of a time when people made do, and could have a good time with alot less.

It should be noted that in the last decade in other jurisdictions within Australia, most notably Tasmania and New South Wales, the continued existence of "shack communities" has been facilitated while addressing economic, social and environmental issues It is my opinion that such a location could have significant tourism appeal for the region, and that it is a unique site with historical significance.

Visitors who come to the Naval Base Shacks, located on Cockburn Road, have been amazed that such a location could co-exist within the surrounding environment, allowing visitors to step back to what life was like before the hustle and bustle of the technological era, and enjoy a relaxing weekend/week 'away' without having to travel for hours, catch a plane or spend a fortune.

The Shacks are very neat and tidy, and well loved, with Shack owners regularly undertaking maintenance, and upgrades, including the addition of many new sustainability initiatives including solar panels and wind turbines for energy/electricity.

Many families have visited the Naval Base Shacks over the years and all have wonderful memories. What does not seem to change is the things that people enjoy. The annual fun day and running races, swimming fishing, boating, wild life watching, bbq's, walks on the beach, games of cricket, relaxing, snorkelling, diving, enjoying the ocean...

Naval Base Shacks are a  wonderful place. Always welcoming many visitors who take a walk through and look at the unique location, stopping for a swim and to enjoy the laid back surroundings of the area. We are still able to live much as our ancestors did 70 years ago. Many share stories of the good train that ran through the middle of the park, which they would go up to the fence and watch, the playground, swimming lessons at the beach, of the shop, and the houses over the road (All of which are now gone) This suggests  that the Shacks are the last remains of an era which has now gone.

The Association  requested that the site be identified as a Heritage Area under the TPS and that the required Local Planning Policy, be prepared.

The surrounding land area is primarly part of Beelair Regional Park, with walk trails at both nearby Mt Brown and the area of Clarence Rocks (Now known as Henderson Cliffs)