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Fax: (08) 9336 6897
Opening Times Daily 10.30am - 3.30pm.
Gates closed out of these hours
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The tunnel underneath the Round House was re-opened by the Attorney General Jim McGinty and the Mayor of Fremantle, Peter Tagliaferri in June 2001, as the result of a major joint restoration project by the State Government and the City of Fremantle.
The tunnel, built in 1837, allows access from High St through to the Indian Ocean.
Whalers Tunnel has been closed on and off for the past 16 years and permanently for the last three because of safety concerns due to the danger of collapse at the western end.
Natural weathering had deteriorated the limestone and led to instability in the cliffs and tunnel. Conservation work in the 1970s resulted in one third of the tunnel being sprayed with concrete to cover major fissures; unfortunately this not only detracted from the historic ambience but accelerated the deterioration of the limestone.
An innovative, world first treatment developed under the auspices of the CSIRO has stabilised the soft and porous limestone, restoring the tunnel walls and ceiling.
A steel frame supporting the roof draws on mining technology with a combination of 52 ground anchors drilled 4m into the limestone. Perspex shields reveal the intricate nature of weathered limestone which itself forms part of the area’s unique heritage.
The Whalers Tunnel was constructed by Fremantle Whaling Company under the Round House to move goods between the original port at Bathers Beach and the town.
It was Western Australia’s first tunnel and the only one for 64 years until the Jane Brook deviation railway tunnel was built.
The tunnel is of exceptional significance as the only structure remaining of the Whaling Station complex.
There is a secret side tunnel leading up to Gunners Cottage which was built when the Whalers Tunnel was used an air raid shelter in World War II.
From 1905 – 1919 electricity cables ran through the tunnel connecting the power station on the western side with the tram barn on its eastern side.