I originally planned on visiting Fremantle solely to check out the Fremantle Prison, a convict-built prison and World Heritage site. However, once I stepped off the train and into the town, I was blown away by the architecture there, itself a good enough reason to visit the area.
Fremantle, or ‘Freo’ to the locals, is a port town in Western Australia, located about 30 minutes by train from Perth, at the mouth of the stunning Swan River. Traveling by boat from Perth is also a scenic way to get there, and a popular day trip for visitors to the Perth area.
After some investigating, I learned Fremantle is apparently one of the best examples of 19th century port street architecture anywhere in the world. Note to self- plan trips more thoroughly in advance, so that you know these things before visiting somewhere new…
There are over 250 local buildings listed as part of Australia’s National Trust, and heritage buildings, pubs, and penitentiaries can be found throughout the town. A stroll through the streets of Freo invokes a throwback to a bygone era, allowing you to put yourself in the shoes of the convicts and settlers who travelled out to remote Western Australia, so far from the world they knew.
Whether brought here by force or free will, the new environment offered endless opportunities, perhaps to reinvent yourself, to start a business, or to work your way to freedom to create a life in this new world, and to escape your past. When I say ‘work your way’, I mean this literally, as convict labour built Fremantle Prison, which would then confine them, along with many other public structures and bridges within the new settlement.
I’m working on a separate blog post on the Prison and convict life, but one of the best ways to get a feel for the area is through photos.
Here’s some of the most stunning buildings I came across in Fremantle:
World Heritage listed prison complex, as part of Australian Convict Sites. Construction began in 1851, by convict labour, and the prison continued to be operational until 1991.
Second Hand Books
Colorful Streets of Fremantle
Beach Sheds along the Fremantle coast
What’s Going on Here?
As part of the Fremantle Festival, a public art installation has created this optical illusion on the main streets of town. The yellow foil is temporary and will be removed from the buildings at the end of the exhibit.
‘Old Swan Lager’ mural, National Hotel
Have you visited Fremantle? If so, what did you think?