Robb Jetty Camp

Site Type: Man-Made Structure (Camp)
Archaeo./Ethno: Both Archaeological and Ethnographic
Side Id./Co-ords: 3707 / Coordinates: 382501mE, 6449352mN, Zone 50 (Reliable)

Site 3707 (Rob Jetty Camp) was first reported by O’Connor, Bodney and Little

(1985) as a camping area located in the sandhills to the south of South Beach, in the vicinity of Catherine Point where camps were situated between the Bradford Kendall Pty Ltd Iron Foundry and Robb Jetty. According to O’Connor et al. (1985) early records indicate that the area was used as a camp area and was still in use by Aboriginal people from outside the metropolitan area at the time of recording. Like other long established fringe camps, O’Connor et al. considered the area likely to have been a traditional camping area.

The site is on the Permanent Register and the file has ‘Open’ access. The Register indicates that the site is currently mapped as being approximately 1.2 km long, its width no greater than 100m.

O’Connor et al (1985) note that the area is known to have been used for Aboriginal camping from about 1910, and that, “although Perth Metropolitan Aboriginal people no longer camp here, it was noticed that Aboriginal visitors from the Kalgoorlie region were living among the sandhills.”

Though the sands driven by winter winds cover most evidence of human occupation, making individual camps hard to distinguish, in the deeper inter dunal swales, campfire ashes, domestic refuse and the remnants of temporary shelters have been observed (O’Connor et al. 1985: 83-85). The site is also listed as containing a man-made structure and this is almost certainly due to O’Connor et al. reporting of the presence of remnants of temporary shelters. 

McDonald conducted archival research on behalf of Ethnosciences in 2003, which found that Makin (170) had identified an Aboriginal campsite adjacent to “The Smelters” to the south of Fremantle. However, the report goes on to say that the available evidence suggests that the Robb Jetty Camp and Makin’s “The Smelters” camp are in fact one and the same.

According to O’Connor, Bodney & Little (1985) (DIA report ID 102670), the Robb Jetty Camp site (ID 3707) has been used as a campsite since approximately 1910. In the 2003 study by E. McDonald for the proposed South Beach Village development (see DIA Report ID 20805, summary below), discussions with the project’s proponents revealed that Robb Jetty Camp was located to the south of the ANI Bradken Foundry land (Lot 1815 Island Street) and they could not recall anybody camping within the boundaries of the foundry property.

AIC also conducted a survey in 2003, involving consultation with representatives from the Combined Metropolitan Working Group (CMWG) NTCs, in which Site 3707 (which will be impacted by the present proposed re-development plans for the Cockburn coast) was identified by the Aboriginal informants as extending from the mouth of the Swan River to Warnbro as the area is part of the well-used coastal ‘pad’ or route and had previously been used for camping and hunting.

Photo Laura Stocker

Photo Laura Stocker

Photo Laura Stocker