Maritime History in SW Western Australia

5 - 12 Sep 2021
  • Cultural Tours

About the tour

The land and people of Western Australia have been shaped by the ocean for thousands of years. Many of its people still live right by the water and WA's history has been irrevocably moulded by its proximity. This maritime history tour explores the moments, voyages and vessels; the artefacts, people and the stories in South West Australia's rich maritime history.

From the vibrant port city of Fremantle, travel to Rottnest and Garden Islands and visit James Fisher at Bibra Lake to see their bespoke intervention ROV system. Continue to the beautiful south west, visiting Busselton and Margaret River en route to Albany, the historic former capital of WA, set on a magnificent natural harbour on the south coast. Learn about the long history of this town, including the ANZAC departures to Europe in WW1. Along the way explore one of Australia's most beautiful pockets at a time when wildflowers will be blooming, spot passing whales, hear the rollicking Albany Shantymen, with ample opportunity to enjoy fine food and wine along the way.

Your tour leader

Picture of JBT tour leader, ​Dr Paul Luckin

​Dr Paul Luckin

Dr Paul Luckin AM CStJ MB.BCh.(Rand.), D.A.(S.A.), F.F.A.(S.A.), M.MED.ANAESTHESIA (Natal), FANZCA is an anaesthetist in Brisbane. He started training in rescue as an ambulance paramedic in Tasmania before studying medicine in South Africa, where he spent 8 years in a Mountain Rescue Team. Paul served on the Tasmanian Ambulance Service Medical Advisory Council, was Director of the Advanced Airway Management Training Program and was President of Royal Life Saving Society Tasmania Branch.

Paul teaches Search and Rescue at the state and national level and is on the directing staff of the National Police Search and Rescue Managers Course. He provides advice on survivability during Search and Rescue operations to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, and Police Search and Rescue teams across the nation, in PNG and the Solomon Islands.

As a Captain in the Royal Australian Navy, Paul has been a member of the Submarine Escape Rescue Abandonment Service medical team. He has served in Bougainville, East Timor, the Solomon Islands, in the Resuscitation and Retrieval Team for the victims of the Bali bombs, in the first medical team into Banda Aceh following the tsunami, and in Afghanistan. He was Medical Director, Medical Services Branch, St John Ambulance Queensland, and has been invested as a Commander of the Order of St John (CStJ). For his work in SAR, in 2006 Paul received the Australian National Search & Rescue Award, and in 2015 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia, AM, for significant service to the community through emergency medicine, and as an authority on survivability in search and rescue operations.

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  • Tel: (Toll Free) 1-8777-398-764
  • Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm
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Itinerary at a glance

  • Day 1: Fremantle / Rottnest Island (Sun, 5 Sept) Take the ferry to Rottnest Island and visit the WW2 naval defences at Oliver Hill with a local guide. Continue to visit Bathurst Lighthouse, the boathouse and replica pilot boat. Explore more of the island at your leisure with the option for a swim. Return by ferry to Fremantle. If time permits, option to visit the Fremantle markets. Welcome dinner at the Esplanade Hotel.
  • Day 2: Fremantle (Mon, 6 Sept) Visit to James Fisher at Bibra Lake, North of HMAS Stirling, where Australia’s submarine rescue vehicle is based and learn of its history and work. See the remotely operated vehicle ROV, a bespoke intervention ROV system that is specially designed for rapid deployment and ease of installation to a variety of vessels, critical in reducing time to first intervention. Up to 88 people can now receive life-saving medical treatment in the hyperbaric equipment suite and pressurised transfer chamber at any one time. Talk: “The Kursk”. Visit the Shipwreck Museum with an expert specialist guide for an overview of West Australia’s maritime history and a talk on some of the ships in the collection. Walk along the beach road via the roundhouse, which was built as a prison in 1830 on top of the old whaling tunnel, and onto the Fremantle Maritime Museum. The Museum is home to the winning America's Cup yacht, Australia II, an Oberon class submarine, HMAS Ovens; Jon Sanders’ Parry Endeavour and many other iconic vessels. Meet with a former submariner at HMAS Ovens, who will discuss his experience.* Partner Option: day at leisure or visit Kings Park. Dinner at a local restaurant.
  • Day 3: Fremantle / Busselton (Tues, 7 Sept) An early start to visit the submarine base at Garden Island.** Visit the submarine escape facility and see the naval base Clearance Diving Team 4 (the Australian Navy’s elite special forces). If possible, see a Collins Class submarine. Lunch in the combined Officers and Senior Sailors mess. Drive to Busselton and check into the Sebel Hotel.
  • Day 4: Busselton (Wed, 8 Sept) Walk along the Busselton Jetty, the longest timber-piled jetty in the southern hemisphere, extending 1.8 km. Take a cruise out from Geographe Bay looking for humpback and southern right whales. Return to Busselton. Visit Margaret River for a lunch at a winery followed by wine tasting at other local wineries.
  • Day 5: Busselton / Albany (Thurs, 9 Sept) Drive to the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse, the tallest on the Australian mainland. Take a private tour of the lighthouse. Continue through the Walpole-Nornalup National Park, famed for their wild flowers, with some stops en route. Stop at Forest Hill winery just outside Denmark for a break. Arrive in Albany. Dinner at the Earl of Spencer and hear the Albany Shantymen.
  • Day 6: Albany (Fri, 10 Sept) Visit the Museum of the Great Southern on a tour with a specialist guide, with time at leisure. Explore the Welcome Walls Jetty, hear stories of immigration to and from Albany, including the ANZAC departures to Europe in WW1. Visit the Brig Amity. Drive out to Monty’s Leap Winery for lunch. Continue along the Porongorup wine trails to taste the celebrated cool climate rieslings. Option to visit Due South, a restaurant on the water next to the Hilton.
  • Day 7: Albany (Sat, 11 Sept) See the site of the old quarantine station and visit the historic Whaling Museum on a guided tour, with time to explore afterwards. Visit the restored whale chaser Cheynes IV with a volunteer guide. Meet Gary Tonkin, a scrimshawer, to learn more about his ancient maritime art and to see examples. At leisure. Options to visit the Royal Fortress and the National Anzac Centre. Farewell dinner at Liberte Restaurant.
  • Day 8: Albany / Perth (Sun, 12 Sept) Visit the Albany Boat Shed and see the work of the Maritime Federation in restoring boats, or visit the Albany Boat Shed Markets. Drive back to Perth via Pinjarra, seeing the wildflowers of the interior en route.

* at time of writing an external tour

** Please note Garden Island is an active naval base. Security arrangments apply.

Tour cost

The cost of the tour is $3,680 per person sharing.

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