Call to protect ruins of radar post

Talitha WolfeAlbany Advertiser

A rich war history litters the Albany coast, and one resident hopes to restore forgotten sites before they are lost.

Sparked by his grandson’s interest, Les Trouchet is pushing for the remnants of a former World War II radar station atop Stony Hill to be protected.

The site, which was originally used as a World War I naval observation and signal station, boasts uninterrupted views of of Princess Royal Harbour and King George Sound, and 180-degree views of the Southern Ocean.

A major fire swept through Torndirrup in 2015, revealing the remains of the original building foundations.

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Mr Trouchet has called upon local and State departments to ensure bush regrowth won’t reclaim the site’s remains.

“Just to open these up a little bit so you can see these places before it grows back, and maybe in time reinstate a little bit of (the sites),” he said.

“Without doing too much, just make it so it is obvious, with some little signs and little pathways.

“This is very important history of Albany, related to the war.”

In 1943 the station was up-graded to an RAAF air warning radar station — No.35 Radar Station.

Dennis Greeve was one of the apprentices who built the station until operations ceased in October, 1945. Mr Greeve was 16 years old at the time.

“It was higher than that rock because it could look 90 miles that way (south-east) and 90m (south-west) that way but it couldn’t look back to the land,” he said.

“When they switched on the transmission we were not permitted near it and they gave us three minutes to clear the site.”

Several sandbagged gun pits are also present at this site.

“We had two scares when the Yanks flew in off an carrier with no warning to the radar crew and we were sent into very crude air raid shelters — a ditch about 2m deep,” Mr Greeve said. City chief executive Andrew Sharpe said the City supported the promotion of Albany’s military history but the particular site was under the authority of the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions.

A spokewoman from the department’s Parks and Wildlife service said the department had been contacted and it was “happy” to hear what information was available on the station.

“The additional information may provide an opportunity to further interpret the role that this site played in World War II,” she said.

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