“Point Peron AIW Shacks”

This painting is of the AIW Centre which is one of the many “camps” set up in the Point Peron area by the Department of Sport and Recreation and offered to people who worked for the government.

The AIW recreation Centre Inc. was formed in 1957 by members of the three Commonwealth Departments, Aviation, Interior and Works (AIW). The plans were drawn up and the lots were numbered. The members had to build two ablution blocks and a caretaker’s cottage before any other buildings were allowed on the the land. A small group of men did all the work on the weekends and holidays including digging the deep sewage tanks. These men and their families were then allocated the lots on the first two rows closest to the waterfront. About 60 lots were allocated for the area and many different forms of shacks were built. The average wage wasn’t much, about 13 pounds or $26 a week so people helped each other build their shacks out of whatever was affordable at the time. Shack 31 was actually 2 nurses’ quarters bought from the Hollywood Hospital and assembled together. Shack 38 was a caravan built from a section of fuselage from a WW2 bomber then added a timber framed annex clad in asbestos. Shack 23 was a small weatherboard cottage purchased from the Australian Army and others were built from scratch out of asbestos, corrugated iron and timber.

This is part our history and I feel such a shame to knock it over without a care. I really hope that the government thinks about this and treats it with the respect that it deserves.