Fremantle, Western Australia

Fremantle, Western Australia

Infobox Australian Place | type = suburb
name = Fremantle
city = Perth
state = wa

caption = Aerial view of Fremantle port
lga = City of Fremantle
postcode = 6160
est = 1829
pop = 7,643Census 2001 AUS|id=SSC51481|name=Fremantle (State Suburb)|accessdate=2007-06-30|quick=on]
area = 5.6
propval = $638,000 (six months to Aug 2007) [ Home Price Guide]
stategov = Fremantle
fedgov = Fremantle
near-nw = "Indian Ocean"
near-n = North Fremantle
near-ne = East Fremantle
near-w = "Indian Ocean"
near-e = Palmyra
White Gum Valley
near-sw = "Indian Ocean"
near-s = South Fremantle
near-se = Beaconsfield
dist1 = 19 | dir1 = SW | location1= Perth

Fremantle (commonly known as Freo) is a port city in Western Australia, located convert|19|km|mi|0|lk=on southwest of Perth, the state capital, at the mouth of the Swan River on Australia's western coast. It was the first settlement of the Swan River Colonists in 1829. It was declared a city in 1929, and has a population of approximately 26,000.

The city is named after Charles Fremantle, the English naval officer who had pronounced possession of
Western Australia and who established the camp at the site. The city contains well preserved buildings and other heritage sites. The Western Australian vernacular diminutive for Fremantle is "Freo". [Australians generally favour the pronunciation "FREE-mantle" over its English antecedent "Fre-MAN-tle". However, the stress commonly reverts to the second syllable in phonetic compounds such as 'North Fre-MAN-tle', 'South Fre-MAN-tle', etc. "Freo" is pronounced FREE-oh.]


Fremantle lies on a series of limestone hills known by the Nyungar people as "Booyeembara"; the sandplain to the east is "Gardoo". [Lyon, R. M., "A Glance at the Manners and Languages of the Aboriginal Inhabitants of Western Australia", 1833; published in Green 1979 (below).] [Green, N. (ed.) "Nyungar: The People", Creative Research Publishing, Mt Lawley College, Perth, 1979] The original vegetation of the area was mainly Xanthorrhoea and eucalyptus trees, being fired annually (in late spring or summer) by the traditional owners.

Fremantle is the end of a train line that runs from Perth to Fremantle, run by the WA's Public Transport Authority.

Fremantle is subject to weather and climate relative to seaside communities - to the point that the regular sea breeze is known as the Fremantle Doctor, as it has a cooling effect to provide relief from the summer heat.


On 25 April 1829, the ship "HMS Challenger" under the guidance of Captain Fremantle had arrived in the waters off the Fremantle coast to make preparations for the Swan River Colony.

On 2 May, 1829, Captain Fremantle formally took possession on behalf of King George IV of the entire west coast of New Holland in a ceremony conducted just near the south head of the Swan River. A few days later a camp was set up in a bay just south of the head, and Fremantle has been occupied ever since.

A month later, on 1 June Captain James Stirling on the "Parmelia" arrived to officially set up the Swan River Colony. Perth itself was not settled until 12 August that year.

Captain Fremantle left the colony on 25 August after providing much assistance to Stirling in setting up the colony. It was then that Stirling decided to name the port settlement 'Fremantle'. [Appleyard, R. T. and Manford, Toby (1979). "The Beginning: European Discovery and Early Settlement of Swan River Western Australia", University of Western Australia Press. ISBN 0-85564-146-0. (for early history)]

In 1897, Irish-born engineer C. Y. O'Connor deepened Fremantle harbour and removed the limestone bar and sand shoals across the entrance to the Swan River, thus rendering Fremantle a serviceable port for commercial shipping [cite web|url=,_western_australia/|title=Local history of Fremantle|author="LocalHero"] . Fremantle still serves as the chief general seaport for Western Australia, though far greater tonnages are exported from the iron-ore ports of the Pilbara.

Fremantle has seen many industrial conflicts, the most famous of which occurred in 1919 when rioting broke out during "the lumpers' strike", resulting in one death and many injuries. []

During World War II, Fremantle was the second largest base for Allied submarines operating in the Pacific theatre. There were up to 125 US, 31 British and 11 Free Dutch submarines operating out of Fremantle, until the Americans moved forward to the Philippines. The movements and presence of USS Sturgeon (SS-187) is a good example of such activity.

Fremantle has produced some significant Australian political figures. John Curtin served as Prime Minister of Australia during World War II, and is often described as one of the nation's greatest political leaders. The state's largest university and a major secondary school in Fremantle are named for him, and his statue stands in Kings Square near the Fremantle Town Hall. A long-serving mayor of the town, Sir Frank Gibson (1919-23 and 1926-52), was also a Liberal parliamentarian from 1942 to 1956. Gibson, a pharmacist with a shop in the High Street, was admired by all sides of politics for his civic leadership and tireless work for the city, especially during World War II, when he is said to have visited every ship that called at the port. He was a leading figure in many civic organisations and his stepson, Dr Roger Dunkley, was medical officer with the 2nd/2nd Independent Company during the Timor campaign in World War II.

Heritage and Buildings

precinct as merchant and shipping companies built in the West end and on reclaimed land. [cite book |last= Irving|first= Robert (arch. consultant)|authorlink= |coauthors=, et al |editor= |others= Morrison, Robin (Photos)|title=Book of Historic Australian Towns |edition=1 |series= |date= |year=1982 |month= |publisher=Readers Digest |location= |language= |isbn=0 909486 93 X |oclc= |doi= |id= |pages=134-139 |chapter= |chapterurl= |quote=Easily quarried limestone was as popular with colonial builders as sandstone or bluestone was with their counterparts in New South Wales or Victoria]

The Round House, the oldest remaining building in Western Australia, was built as a gaol between 1830 - 1831.cite web|url=|title=Fremantle Focus, History and Heritage] The Round House had eight cells and a gaoler's residence, which all opened up into a central courtyard. In the 1800s, bay whaling was carried out from Bathers Beach below the Round House. As part of the whaling operations, a tunnel was constructed under the Round House to provide whalers with access to the town from the jetty and beach.

When the first 75 convicts arrived from Britain in 1850 to support the colony's dwindling population, it became apparent that the Round House was inadequate to house them. The convicts built a new gaol, which was completed in the 1850s and continued to be used as Fremantle's prison until 1991.

The Round House is located in what is now known as Fremantle's West End: a collection of streets characterised by late Georgian and Victorian-style architecture at the tip of the southern end of the port. A process of gentrification in the early 1990s was accelerated by the establishment of the University of Notre Dame Australia, which occupies, and has restored, many of the buildings in the West End.

Fremantle Prison was once one of the most notorious prisons in the British Empire. It housed British convicts, local prisoners, military prisoners, enemy aliens and prisoners of war. It is now one of the state's heritage sites. Fremantle Prison was featured on an episode of The Amazing Race in 2006.

The majestic Fremantle History Museum is another building constructed in the 1860s by convicts from indigenous limestone: it is a former asylum building on Ord Street, and is one of Fremantle's most significant landmarks. This building was the land base of the U.S. Navy during WWII. It now also houses the Fremantle Arts Centre and the Immigration Museum, which aims to preserve the history and stories of all immigrants who arrived in Western Australia.

The Fremantle Markets opened in 1897, forming a precinct providing handicrafts, specialty foods, dining halls and fish and vegetable markets. The area also hosts buskers and other street performers. The Premier of Western Australia, Sir John Forrest, laid the foundation stone for the markets on Saturday 6 November, 1897. Over 150 stalls are housed in its old Victorian-era building, which was listed by the National Trust and Heritage Council in 1980. The adjacent Sail & Anchor Hotel is a historic building which contains a microbrewery.

The National Hotel, one of the city's historic buildings, was almost destroyed by fire on the night of Sunday, March 11, 2007 - while the inside was gutted, the historic facade was saved and its new owners are working to stabilise the building and restore it so the hotel can operate once more.

The National Trust of Australia have designated the grave of formerAC/DC lead singer Bon Scott a national heritage site, in recognition of the thousands of rock music fans who visit it each year [ [ Bon Scott grave] ] .



Fremantle has a broadly mixed-class of professions yet high unemployment (10.2%), multi ethnic population, and an above average proportion of rented dwellings (43%) of which larger than average proportion owned by Homeswest (40.1%). Fremantle has supported the Australian Labor Party at both Federal and state elections. [ Australian Electoral Commission 2004 Federal Election Results]

For a town of smaller size Fremantle is very diverse. Only 64% of the population was born in Australia. The largest overseas-born population groups come from the United Kingdom, Italy, New Zealand, Ireland and Germany.There are also sizeable Portuguese(Madeiran) and Croatian communities.

On Census Night 4,485 persons in Fremantle (State Suburb) stated they were born in Australia. Other popular responses within Fremantle (State Suburb) were 760 born in England, 325 born in Italy, 210 born in New Zealand, 118 born in Scotland and 69 born in Portugal.

Some 57% of the population is Christian, largely Roman Catholic and Anglican. [cite web | url = | title = Suburb profiles | accessdate = 2007-04-17 | year = 2007 | month = | format = aspx | work = Domain Commercial | publisher = Fairfax Digital | pages = | language = | archiveurl = | archivedate = | quote = Religion - Top 5(6160 cp. Perth):Catholic 32% 30%No Religion 31% 22%Anglican 20% 25%Uniting Church 3% 5%Presbyterian and Reformed 2% 3%]

Leisure and Recreation

The city is popular with diners, catering for all tastes and budgets. Italian and Asian cuisine is abundant as well as a vast variety of seafood restaurants. There are numerous cafes and coffee shops situated around Fremantle, particularly on its famous 'Cappuccino Strip' - a section of South Terrace given over to "alfresco" dining since 1977. [cite web | url = | title = fremantle Focus | accessdate = 2007-04-17| format = .cfm | work = Fremantle > about freo > about history| publisher = Government of Western Australia | quote = Nunzio Gumina introduced al fresco dining at Papa Luigi’s coffee shop in South Terrace, the start of development of the Cappuccino Strip.]

The city has an operational fishing boat harbour which contain markets and restaurants, developed as a tourist precinct. Fishing charter boats also operate from this harbour.

Fremantle is a popular place for its nightlife, second only to Northbridge in Perth's CBD. It attracts people from all over the metropolitan region for its pubs, bars and nightclubs.

Fremantle is home to Bathers Beach, South Beach, Port Beach, Leighton Beach and Sandtrax with several of Western Australia's other beautiful beaches nearby on Transperth's Fremantle railway line, most notably Cottesloe Beach, less than ten minutes away by rail.

The cooling breeze blowing from Fremantle to Perth during the hot summer is colloquially known as the "Fremantle Doctor".


In 2011 Fremantle will host the ISAF Sailing World Championships.

Fremantle was the host city for the America's Cup yachting race in 1987, after Australia was the first country to ever win the race, aside from the USA, in 1983. The unsuccessful cup defence was conducted on the waters in Gage Roads, off Fremantle.

Fremantle is the home to an AFL team, the Fremantle Football Club (colloquially known as the Dockers). It has a fierce rivalry with the West Coast Eagles, the only other West Australian AFL team. However, it should be noted that both clubs play their games at Subiaco Oval in Perth, rather than in Fremantle. This rivalry is put on display twice a year when the two teams play each other in a match known as the Western Derby (In WA it is pronounced as Durby rather than Darby) at Subiaco Oval, attracting capacity crowds. The city also has two teams in the state football league (WAFL), East Fremantle and South Fremantle.The derbies are played at Fremantle Oval and East Fremantle Oval.


* Beaconsfield
* Fremantle
* Hilton*
* North Fremantle
* O'Connor
* Samson
* South Fremantle
* White Gum Valley( * indicates suburb partially located within City)

ee also

* Fremantle Hospital
* Fremantle Football Club
* Fremantle Prison
* Fremantle railway station


External links

* [ Fremantle historical time-line]
* [ Tourist Information on Fremantle]
* [ City of Fremantle]
* [ Festivals in Fremantle]
* [ Fremantle Trails]
* [ Fremantle Tourism]
* [ Fremantle Chamber of Commerce]
* [, 48 hours in Fremantle]
* [ Fremantle Port Authority]

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