Naval Base shacks WA: community working together to protect WA’s heritage

Ms Nicole O’Neill1, Mr Mick Davis2

1Naval Base Shacks Association, Cockburn, Australia, 2Community Member, Naval Base Shacks, Australia


Naval Base Holiday Park (the shacks) has been a Western Australian coastal holiday destination since 1933, used by generations of families from Cockburn and the wider area. It has exceptional social historical value as a popular and well used holiday destination.

The shacks are highly valued by the community and have been a unique holiday destination for many decades; with ownership of shacks being passed down through generations of families.

The shacks are also highly valued by their owners and for the last fifty years the Naval Base Shacks Association has acted as a conduit between shack owners and the City of Cockburn in the management of the site, actively encouraging the continuation of this strong community spirit.

The Association facilitates shack community events and traditions, including Easter celebrations, annual children’s fun days and Christmas events. Through the Association our community has undertaken coastcare, removed weeds, planted trees and fought to protect the area from development for over 30 years. These actions not only demonstrate the level of social cohesion at the site but also contribute to the community’s sense of place.

The shacks were placed on the National Heritage Register in 2019 due to 11 heritage factors, including it’s connection to one of WA’s earliest settlements, Clarence.

Our presentation will showcase the cultural, historical, natural and community values of WA’s Naval Base Shacks and highlight how our community is continuing to protect these values for future generations, in the face of climate change, development and changes in government policy.


Nicole O’Neill has a Bachelor of Communications, with a Grad Dip in Education, as well as Diplomas in Public Relations and Mass Communications. She is an experienced facilitator, with a Certificate in Engagement. Nicole is passionate about community, working at a grass roots level to make a difference. With more than 15 years experience in Government Nicole understands how to navigate process, influence and advocate for the needs of the environment and her community. Nicole has spent her entire life at the Naval Base Shacks, with a family connection spanning more than 70 years.