Mystery under floorboards
Mystery under floorboards

Three young men in oversized uniforms, two blue-eyed brothers in their Sunday finest and a fair-haired girl perched on a horse - these 100-year-old family photographs are among a collection of 15 found under the floorboards of a worker's cottage at Wireless Hill Park in Ardross.

The half-plate glass negatives were discovered during the renovation of one of the four original European-style cottages at the site of Australia's oldest surviving wireless station.

GALLERY

Applecross Wireless Station, as it was known, was built in 1912, one of only two coastal wireless stations built by the Federal government at the time.

The station was not only the first location for ship-to-shore communications in Perth, signalling to ships using morse code, but it was also responsible for State, regional, national and international radio broadcasting for more than 50 years.

City of Melville local history officer Kaylene Poon said mystery surrounded the well-preserved photographs.

With the images of the soldiers and children are photographs of a timber mill, railway tracks and workers chopping trees.

Ms Poon said the photos might have been taken while the station was being built but some clothing worn by the subjects suggested they could be older - perhaps pre-Federation.

"It is an odd assortment of pictures - the one of the railway and the timber mill," she said.

"They are odd because people didn't take pictures the way they do these days. Pictures were reserved for family members, special occasions and important events."

She said there were no records of mills or railways in the area.

Ms Poon said the photos raised many questions and she hoped someone could provide answers.

Wireless Hill marks its 100th anniversary this month with activities and events. Visit www.melvillecity.com.au for details. To view the photographs, contact Melville Discovery Centre on 9364 0158.

The West Australian

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