Great Eastern Highway

Road repair Great Eastern Highway Burlong and Irish Town areas.


History:

Burlong:

Burlong Pool was a former railway stopping place, which was used as a location for drawing water into the water trains to the Eastern Goldfield locations prior to the completion of the Goldfields Water Supply Scheme.
During dry weather in the late 1890’s up to five separate water trains per day would be drawing water from the pool and travelling between Northam and the goldfields.

Northam Army Camp:

Since its establishment in 1935, Northam Army Camp has served as a military base, a prisoner of war detainment facility and a migrant holding camp.

The Defence Act of 1909 required that every Australian youth participate in military training. Junior cadets (aged 12 to 14) chiefly trained in schools while senior cadets (aged 14 to 18) were meant to complete 64 hours of training a year in organised companies and battalions.

The Citizen’s Forces (for 18 to 20 year olds) were to do 16 days training a year, eight of them in camp.

Training areas were established in Perth, North Perth, East Perth, Subiaco, Guildford, Victoria Park and Fremantle, as well as Kalgoorlie, Boulder, Albany, Geraldton and Bunbury. Typical training included parades, drills, rifle exercises, physical training, organised strategic games and examinations.

By the early 1930s, most of the training for both the Citizen’s Military Forces (CMF) and the smaller Permanent Military Forces (Militia) was held at Karrakatta. Facilities were limited and it was realised that the Citizen’s Forces would have to go into regional areas with different terrain and conditions if the standard of training was to improve.

The 1933/34 annual camp was held at Northam and the success of this and the camp at York the following year proved that to the authorities that they should establish a semi–permanent military camp in a regional area.

The decision was quickly made to hold the 1935/36 camp at Northam. With the aid of detachment of gunners from the Fremantle Artillery Barracks and horse teams from the Guildford Remount Depot, enough land was cleared to hold a tented training camp.

After the 1935/36 tent camp, plans for buildings to accommodate a complete infantry brigade were prepared by the Quartermaster General’s Office and the Works Branch of the Australian Army. However, building activity was slow.

When World War II broke out in September 1939, Northam Army Camp suddenly became the focus of frantic building activity.

By early October, 175 huts had been built. Some of the larger buildings, like the mess huts, were relocated from the World War I training camp at Blackboy Hill. Other buildings were constructed from materials recycled from Blackboy Hill.

Most of the buildings were timber framed clad with corrugated iron. The barrack buildings, each accommodating 48 men, were grouped together to form a company. Each company was serviced by a headquarters, a quartermaster’s store, cook house, mess hut and ablution block. Officers and senior NCOs had separate accommodation and mess.


 

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