(11/5/2018) Round House Whalers Tunnel re-opens
The Whalers Tunnel underneath the historic Round House in Fremantle will re-open tomorrow.
The City of Fremantle closed the tunnel in March as a precautionary measure after receiving advice the limestone cliff above the tunnel entrance had been subjected to significant erosion and overhanging rock could be unstable.
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said public safety was the over-riding factor in the decision to close the tunnel.
“We understand this has caused some inconvenience and we greatly appreciate the patience and cooperation of the public over the past few weeks,” Mayor Pettitt said.
“We will continue to work with the state government on a longer term solution to stabilise the cliffs while also being respectful of the heritage of the area.
“In the meantime, I would encourage everyone to come down to Fremantle and experience one of WA’s premier heritage sites.”
To allow the tunnel to re-open the City has installed temporary scaffolding at the ocean-side tunnel entrance to protect pedestrians in the event of a rock fall.
The footpath on the eastern side of Arthur Head next to the railway line has also been re-opened following works to shave overhanging rock from the cliff face.
The scaffolding at the tunnel entrance and fencing around the base of the cliffs will remain in place until a longer term solution is found to stabilise the cliffs and prevent further erosion.
The Arthur Head precinct is one of Western Australia’s most significant heritage sites and attracts more than 400,000 visitors a year.
The Round House was the first permanent building built in the Swan River Colony and is the oldest building still standing in Western Australia.
It was built as a jail in and opened in 1831, with the Whalers Tunnel added in 1838.
Video of the cliff shaving works: