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Defence Heritage Interpretation Plan

The plan for enhancing opportunities for visitors to engage with the island's defence heritage.

The strategy for honouring Rottnest Island’s significant defence heritage

Wadjemup / Rottnest Island is a nationally recognised site for Australia’s coastal defence during the Second World War. The island’s infrastructure, including Bickley Battery, Signal Station, Kingstown Barracks, the Oliver Hill Battery, railways, and associated works, stands as a testament to the role of the Australian Defence Force in the national war effort.

These sites not only serve as a lasting reminder of the military achievements of the time, but also distinguish Rottnest Island nationally as the sole location to have preserved the 9.2-inch guns in its batteries.

The Rottnest Island Defence Heritage Interpretation Plan 2020-30 incorporates several strategies designed to enhance the defence heritage experience available to visitors.

Oliver Hill Battery
Oliver Hill Battery

Read the Defence Heritage Interpretation Plan 2020-30

The Plan was originally prepared in alignment with the Rottnest Island Management Plan 2020-24. The Plan continues as a key initiative in the Rottnest Island Management Plan 2023-28.


The plan for defence heritage

The Plan recognises the strategic importance of Rottnest Island as a key site for Australia’s coastal defence in World War II.  Initiatives of the Plan are to present a world-class experience that resonates with the island's multifaceted history. 

Raise the profile of defence heritage

Develop a series of iconic and strategically placed experiences to elevate the visibility of the defence heritage story.

Enhancing visitor engagement

Improve the experience at the key defence sites and the links between them, to facilitate increased visitor engagement, flexibility for programmes, and enhanced quality of the storytelling.

Supportive and progressive endeavours

The Plan is complemented by a suite of supporting projects and continuous foundational work. These initiatives, ranging from minor interventions to major landscaping upgrades, are key to enriching the interpretive outcomes and are integral to the ongoing realisation of our interpretive vision.

Achievements so far

  • In December 2021, an upgrade of trail signage at Oliver Hill was the first project completed.
  • The new interpretive signage has enhanced the self-guided experience by improving the existing walk trail that connects the key defence features.
  • Completed remedial works at Oliver Hill Tunnels and Wadjemup Hill Battery Observation Post.
  • Delivered the refurbishment of the Engine Room as a new museum space. This will raise the profile and improve the defence heritage experience of the Oliver Hill Battery precinct.

Working together to preserve defence heritage

The Rottnest Island WWII Coastal Defence Heritage Interpretation Plan 2020-30 aims to provide an overview of opportunities for current and future partners to contribute to the conservation and interpretation of this unique and significant heritage.

RIA has prioritised the military interpretation and museum centre, and the refurbishment of the Bickley Trail and Bickley Battery.  

RIA continue to support volunteer guides that provide knowledge of the defence heritage experience and are pursuing a public-private partnership for broader heritage projects.

Contact us to explore partnership opportunities