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Torpedo Depot Preston Point

Constructed around 1941-42 at Preston Point, near Fremantle, Western Australia.

View of torpedo depot at Preston Point

General View of the Torpedo Depot at Preston Point in 1949

A letter from the Secretary, Department of Navy (2001/2/311 of 30 January 1945) to The Commander-in-Chief, British Pacific Fleet, states:

"I am directed by the Naval Board to refer to the subject of the supply of torpedoes from Torpedo Depots to submarine flotillas based in Australia.

2. The Torpedo Depots, Fremantle and Darwin, were established for the Admiralty. The Torpedo Depot Sydney is an R.A.N. establishment. A torpedo workshop has also been completed at Brisbane for the Admiralty. This workshop could be enlarged to function as a torpedo depot, in which case the services of a Torpedo Engineer Officer can be provided, but the skilled personnel would need to be obtained from overseas." (NAA MP 1049/5)

During 1946 the Armament Depot at Byford took over the Gun Mounting Store in Fremantle and became responsible for the custody and maintenance of all gun mountings and equipment. The Torpedo Depot at Preston Point, Fremantle, was also taken over and provided additional storage space for gunmounting and gunwharf stores. It provided useful storage for non-explosive stores awaiting shipment, whilst its jetty was used to moor naval armament lighters.

Buildings included a torpedo storehouse, paravane storehouse, torpedo workshop, non-explosives storehouses, a residence and jetty.

Interior of torpedo workshop at Preston Point

Interior of Former Torpedo Workshop at Preston Point (1949)

Later, the depot became HMAS Leeuwin, a junior recruit training school.

A US Navy torpedo depot was also established at Subiaco in Perth, Western Australia, during World War Two, becoming operational in July 1943. (The West Australian, 21 August 1945, page 3)

A collection of photographs of the Torpedo Depot, taken in 1949, can be found online at the State Library of Western Australia.

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Robert Curran
borclaud @ tpg.com.au