In 1905, the Burford Soap Factory was established in Fremantle, Perth. At the same time, a 96-metre tunnel was built, behind the factory. The original factory building has since been renovated into apartments, but the abandoned tunnel remains. At just 1.8 metres high and 1.4 metres wide, it’s a tight squeeze, and it gets a lot narrower as you walk in. It’s pitch black, full of cobwebs and my worst nightmare – cockroaches.
I noticed a lot of metal pipes along the ground as I was exploring this tunnel and later found out that these were used to transport water pumped from the river to below the factory, where it was directed up the vertical trunk to the factory and then to the cooling tanks or to be heated into steam.
As you go deeper into the Soap Factory Tunnel, you will find two vertical tunnels (trunks) that lead to storm drains on the street above. The first trunk is located at the first bend in the tunnel. It is a dry wall construction and capped with angle iron, tin sheeting, and cement. The second trunk is lined in modern concrete with hand holds leading to the surface. Both of these trunks are blocked at the entrance, so there is no point in fighting your way through the cobwebs and cockroaches to see if you can get through the latches above!