Smelters Camp research calls for public information

Residents with relatives known to have lived at the Smelters Camp are encouraged to send in their memories and stories to complement a fascinating body of research on the site.

Spearwood film-maker and researcher Julie Raffaele collated a report on nearly 200 people who lived at the camp in the dunes of Cockburn Sound from 1898.

The research details what happened to the camp’s residents before it was officially demolished in the 1950s.
The site, also known as the Robb Jetty Camp, was originally a gathering place for the indigenous community. People camped by choice or lived there due to homelessness.

Camp residents also included workers, families, war veterans, pensioners and those recovering from mental illness.

A research display of photos accompanies the report and both can be viewed at Success Library until October when the research project will be displayed at Coolbellup Library.

Cockburn Libraries Adult Services Coordinator Cherie Cable said The Smelters Camp initial research began under the banner of ‘A Narrative for a Coastline’, and was originally made possible with financial support from the City of Cockburn under the auspice of the Historical Society of Cockburn. 

A cultural grant of $3585 was provided for more than 500 hours of research.

The research project includes archival material from newspapers, the Fremantle History Centre, Fremantle Press, the State Library and the National Archives of Australia.

To submit information, anecdotes or artefacts on known residents of the camp, email Julie at [email protected].

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Cockburn Nyungar moort Beeliar boodja-k kaadadjiny. Koora, yeyi, benang baalap nidja boodja-k kaaradjiny.
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We acknowledge a continuing connection to land, waters and culture and pay our respects to the Elders, past, present and emerging.