Fremantle: Monument Hill
Rising 43 metres above sea level to the east of the city centre, Monument Hill is one of the best vantage points in Fremantle. The hill overlooks Fremantle Harbour, Garden Island, and Rottnest Island to the west, and the Darling Ranges to the east, and is the highest natural point of elevation between the Indian Ocean and the Darling Ranges. The Fremantle War Memorial occupies the high ground of Monument Hill.
Monument Hill was identified early as one of the best vantage points in Fremantle. An obelisk at the summit of Monument Hill was constructed in 1874 for use as a trig point by surveyors and navigators. In an 1870s planning map of Fremantle, the obelisk was shown under the name "Obelisk Hill", which remained in use until its demolition prior to the construction of the memorial in the 1920s. The area around the hill comprised limestone outcrops and low scrub. After the Western Australian gold rushes in the 1890s, a number of shanty towns, commonly referred to as "canvas towns", came into existence on the outskirts of Fremantle, including on Monument Hill. The reserve was vested as a public park on 20 July 1904, under the name Obelisk Reserve. Under the specifications of Fremantle's town engineer, quarrying of the limestone outcrops commenced shortly after, and was used by a number of local companies, including the Fremantle Tramways. Various landscaping works were carried out between 1904 and 1910, including the planting of trees, and construction of footpaths, drinking fountains, and fixed jarrah seats.
The Memorial comprises a large obelisk, the Fallen Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial, surrounded by eight smaller memorials at what has been a public reserve since the early 19th century. A 21-inch-diameter mounted torpedo dedicated to the memory of United States Navy submariners who died at sea during the Second World War was unveiled by Rear Admiral Herman J. Kossler on 8 September 1967. Commemorative services are held yearly at the Memorial on Anzac Day (25 April) and Remembrance Day (11 November). The Fallen Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial is designed so that at dawn 1914 is illuminated, and at sunset 1919 is illuminated, alluding to a line in the "Ode of Remembrance": "At the going down of the sun and in the morning/We will remember them". On Anzac Day, the shadows are exactly aligned.
Plans for the erection of memorial gates commemorating those who fought in the Second World War were proposed in 1948, with work commencing in 1952. The gates comprised two grey granite entrance pillars, with cast bronze panels and ornamental work. The original deadline for the work was Anzac Day, 1952, however, only the bronze plaques were unveiled, with the memorial entrances not opened until Anzac Day, 1963. A 21-inch-diameter mounted torpedo dedicated to the memory of United States Navy submariners who died at sea during the Second World War was unveiled by Rear Admiral Herman J. Kossler on 8 September 1967, jointly financed by the City of Fremantle and the United States Submarine Veterans Association. A memorial dedicated to members of the Allied submarine crews based in Fremantle during the Second World War was unveiled by Sir Douglas Kendrew, the Governor of Western Australia, on Trafalgar Day (21 October), 1972, incorporating a periscope from HM Submarine Tabard.
A plaque commemorating those killed in Malaya (1948 60), Korea (1950 53), Borneo (1962 66), and Vietnam (1962 72), was unveiled on 11 May 1975. A memorial funded by the Royal Australian Navy Corvettes Association was unveiled on 7 October 1984, commemorating those who served on Australian corvettes in the Second World War. Another plaque, erected by the Netherlands Ex-Servicemen s Association of Australia, was unveiled in 1991, remembering Dutch services based at Fremantle between 1942 and 1947. A further memorial, consisting of a ship's anchor resting on a raised base, was unveiled 23 October 1994 by Sir Francis Burt, marking Royal Navy personnel of the Second World War. Other memorials, unveiled on 27 August 1995 and 3 November 1996, respectively, were dedicated to the Australian Merchant Navy and the Royal Marines.