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Chidlow World War II army camp
Right: Archaeologist Bob Sheppard. Left: Arthur Schenberg, standing on left, with other soldiers at Chidlow Army Camp 1943. Photo provided by Les Schenberg.

Victory for Chidlow military heritage

By Claire Ottaviano

THE induction of a parcel of Chidlow’s World War II Army Camps onto the Shire of Mundaring’s heritage list is a monumental step in the community’s crusade to see the site formally recognised.

Before Tuesday night, when Mundaring Council voted unanimously to add Camp 4 to its heritage list, no part of the significant military camp had been listed on local or State Government registers.

Mundaring and Hills Historical Society president Jenny Johnson presented in support of the move.

“Chidlow Army Camp operated at the site in Chidlow from March 1942 until July 1944,” she said.

“It was established at a safe distance from Perth to train troops from around Australia before deployment to Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific.

“It played a highly significant role in Australia’s defences and so forms part of this Shire’s heritage.”

Only remnants of Camp 4 remain, including broken concrete pads, evidence of drainage systems and artefacts recently excavated.

Mundaring archaeologist Bob Sheppard has been campaigning for the camps’ inclusion on the local, as well as State, heritage list for the past 12 months, and the Historical Society for many years before that.

“The Council’s unanimous decision goes to show elected councillors in the Mundaring Shire all appreciate the value of heritage,” he said.

“The next step is to get Camps 1, 2 and 3 on the heritage survey.

“Now that Camp 4 has been registered, that strengthens our application for resubmission of registration to Office of State Heritage.”

Last year Mr Sheppard led a team of volunteer archaeologists into Camp 4 to excavate and document close to 1000 items found.

There are up to 10 camps at the site.

Cr Doug Jeans moved the motion to support on Tuesday.

“It’s been a huge amount of work put in by the community to highlight the need for this to be listed initially with the Shire,” he said.

“It’s an important site and too many sites these days can be overlooked and when neglect sets in they can disappear very quickly.

“This is something we should be supporting as a council and a community and hopefully to extend to other camps on reserves nearby.”

The artefacts uncovered by Mr Sheppard’s team are still on display at the Mundaring District Museum’s Head for the Hills exhibition until April 29.

See also

State says get Chidlow’s army camps on the list

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