Army Museum

GPS 32 02 42.06 S 115 45 16.48 E






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It has been many years since I last saw the Army Museum. In fact it was over in East Perth in a small building and there wasn't a whole lot to it back then. Things have certainly changed a great deal.


Since 1995 the museum has been housed in the artillery barracks on Burt Street in Fremantle and the extra space this facility provides has meant the collection has grown and become very impressive.


There are several galleries that lead you through the various stages of the army in Western Australia. Work is currently underway on new galleries and these are expected to be open later in 2014.


The Western Australian contingent of the Australian Army has taken part in a number of wartime and peacetime initiatives dating back all the way to the Boer War. At that time each state in Australia operated independently and it was only after federation in 1901 that the states merged to form one cohesive force.


As you wander through the exhibits there are a series of documentaries that will highlight different aspects of each era.


Great attention to detail shows clearly in the way information is presented at the museum and each gallery has plenty to see, watch and read.


There are 4 Victoria Crosses housed by the museum which makes this the largest collection of these medals in Australia outside the Canberra War Memorial. The Victoria Cross is the highest award for bravery issued to Commonwealth forces but it is not the metal itself that is precious. Each medal has a name and a story behind it and it is this that brings to each one a uniqueness that cannot be duplicated. Due to precious nature of these medals they are not kept on public display.


It takes at least a couple of hours to really see and appreciate everything inside the galleries and once you have finished inside, there are a number of interesting vehicles scattered around the outside of the buildings including a few World War Two vehicles that I have to admit are my personal favourites.


There is a Stuart light tank, a Staghound armoured car and a Grant medium tank that was one of the vehicles that helped turn the tide of the battles in North Africa against Erwin Rommel and the Afrika Corps. Prior to the introduction of the Grant tanks, there were few allied tanks that could take on the German Panzer III and IVs at anything but point blank range.


For those who are interested in armour that was developed after WWII there is a Centurion tank, a Ferret armoured car, a Saracen armoured car and a Leopard tank that was the mainstay of Australian armoured forces for many years.


You will also find a number of field guns and artillery pieces including a 25pdr, 40mm Bofors anti aircraft gun, 5.5 inch howitzer and other assorted guns, mortars and soft skinned vehicles including a Dodge weapons carrier, Blitz Wagon ambulance and a couple of Landrovers.


The buildings that house the museum are interesting in their own right and the whole site is heritage listed. They date from 1910-13 when they were constructed to house gunners of the Royal Australian Garrison Artillery who manned a number of defence points around Fremantle.


The museum receives little government funding so entrance fees, joining the foundation, direct donations and volunteers help keep the museum going.


The museum houses archives that may be useful for anyone seeking information on relatives who served in the army and for those wanting to search for other information related to service in the army.


There are a series of educational programs available for schools that will be invaluable for students studying Australian history. For information on any of these plus opening times, entrance fees etc., please go to the museum's website by clicking the link below.



M113 APC'


Bofors gun


Centurion tank




Grant tank







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