Fremantle Architecture, in Photos

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…

colourful streets fremantle
A stroll around town is a great way to get a feel for the area.

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:

Federal Hotel


Fremantle Prison

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.

fremantle prison gate

fremantle prison

Second Hand Books

secondhand books

National Hotel

pubnational-hotel - Copy

Colorful Streets of Fremantle 

colourful streets fremantle

Beach Sheds along the Fremantle coast

beach sheds fremantle

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.


Docks Building


‘Old Swan Lager’ mural, National Hotel



Have you visited Fremantle? If so, what did you think?


  1. By a series of unexpected events, I had to spend half a year in West Australia. Unintentionally (simply because I couldn’t find an affordable place to stay in Perth on short notice), I lived in Fremantle for more than three months. Honestly, given a chance now, I would prefer living there vs. Perth. It is a vibrant, full of life place. You caught the best of Fremantle in your pictures. Thank you for publishing them. They brought back great memories of my time there 🙂

    1. Thank you! Yes, it definitely seemed vibrant and fun, even though I was only there a day. Can see why people might prefer it over Perth.

  2. I visited Fremantle earlier this year and fell in love with the gorgeous old pubs in the city. Sadly we did not have time to go inside them all but I would love to go back and spend more time there.

  3. I also lived in Fremantle for a few months, years ago and also think you captured this so well! I worked at the Sail & Anchor ⚓️ Thanks for sharing this. Might be time for a return visit!

  4. I have now added Fremantle to my list of places to visit as I love the design of these buildings. I am really into visiting prisons when I travel they have so much history and cool stories attached to them I find them fascinating.

  5. I had not heard of Fremantle before but now I want to visit just so I can see those beautiful buildings in person. I have yet to make it to Western Australia so I am adding Fremantle to my list for my next Australia trip.

  6. I live Fremantle as it is a sweet lovely old town and not far from the city center. Visitors may consider heading to the Rottnest Island from there. the Fremantle market is funky and fun, too! @knycx.journeying

    1. Thanks! Yes, I went to Rottnest the day after, just finishing a blog on it now. Unfortunately the markets weren’t on the day I was there, but I heard from a few people that they are really fun.

  7. I would love to visit Fremantle prision my father and sister have been and raved about it. The Fremantle water front looks like a great place to explore and enjoy the famous W.A weather. The archietecture is like stepping back in time

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