Fremantle's World War II Submarine Base
by Lynne Cairns

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Contrary to what many Australians believe, during 1942 Japanese submarines were active in Australian waters and spy planes made surveillance flights over our major cities. With enemy submarines patrolling off the Western Australian coast, Fremantle became an important international submarine base.

During the war, Fremantle played host to over 170 Allied submarines, with submarines of the United States, British and Dutch navies making a total of 416 war patrols out of the port between March 1942 and August 1945.

The Fremantle Port was closed, and barbed wire and sentries appeared at various strategic points, transforming it, almost overnight, from a relatively quiet place to the largest submarine base in the Southern Hemisphere.

The secrecy surrounding the operation of the Fremantle submarine base meant that its existence was little known at the time and, until now, has been largely forgotten by history.

This is one of the books in WAMM Maritime History Series. It covers the wartime history of the Fremantle submarine base. The book also covers the social impact of one of the world's most isolated ports, suddenly becoming full of service men from the US Navy, Royal Dutch Navy and the Royal Navy. The television documentary " Secret Fleets" was adapted from the events depicted in this well written and interesting publication, containing photos, maps and indexes.


238 pages, 7 page Index, Appendix with details of
all submarines based out of Fremantle


Order your copy of this excellent book
from the Western Australian Museum



"Australia @ War" WWII Research Products

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 Peter Dunn 2015


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This page first produced 16 October 2011

This page last updated 04 March 2020