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Cottesloe and the war

View south from Cottesloe to lights at the port of Fremantle. Defence positions at Cottesloe and along this coastline were at risk of attack during World War II. On 2 March 1942 crew members on a Japanese submarine that surfaced off Cottesloe listened to music coming from the waterfront.  Image Renee Doropoulos 2010

Cottesloe, being on the Indian Ocean close to the port of Fremantle, was at risk in the event of a Japanese attack. Barbed wire was stretched along areas of the beach, an anti-aircraft gun was positioned at the top of Jarrad Street [22]  and searchlights probed the sky over the ocean. US Marines camped on the golf course.[23] The local shops were boarded up, with chalked notices advertising goods for sale.[24] Catalina flying boats with heavy loads of fuel for the long trip to Ceylon lumbered low over the shops in nearby Napoleon Street.

Cottesloe was blacked out. Formerly well-lit attractions at Cottesloe Beach were closed.[25] Street lights were turned off. Windows were covered with heavy blinds.

Everyone had to get to and cover up all their windows. That went on from the end of '41 I think it was until '45, and no lights on at night [in the streets] ... it was hairy-scary coming home at night time in the blackout. [laughs] You didn't know whether someone was following you or whether it was just the moonlight showing some shadow through the trees. You know, it was really scary. [26]

Elsie Macleod 1994-59

Next: Beyond Labor

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