The Army Museum of WA was established in 1977 and was originally located in the nineteenth Century building “Dilhorn” situated in Bulwer Street, Perth, which had been in use by the Army since 1952. This heritage listed building was subsequently sold privately by Department of Defence in 2001.
The museum was relocated to the Artillery Barracks site in Burt Street Fremantle in 1995. This entire precinct has been heritage listed with several of the buildings having historical significance. The initial aim was to open a new gallery every year leading up to 2001, the year of the centenary of federation and the forming of the Australian Commonwealth Military Forces. Each gallery reflects the Army in Western Australia and Western Australian’s service within the army from the colonial period through to the present day.
The museum currently has five established galleries and a static display of vehicles and other military hardware located on the parade ground and in adjacent buildings. In addition to the public displays of army memorabilia and artefacts a wide range of photographs, letters, general correspondence and other items of significance to Western Australian army history are also held by the museum.
In 2000 the Army Museum of WA was faced with the prospect of having to be relocated once again due to plans for the Artillery Barracks site at Burt Street being sold off by the Federal Government. A successful “Save the Barracks” campaign was initiated to gain support for the retention of the barracks site as a heritage precinct remaining in Public ownership and for the museum to remain at this site. After lengthy negotiations the Commonwealth Government has agreed that the Museum can remain at the Barracks under special licensing arrangements.
Currently the museum is supported by 3 part-time Army personnel, around 120 active volunteers, and 60 financial Foundation members.