/ˈfriːmæntəl/ is a city in Western Australia, located at the mouth of the Swan River. Fremantle Harbour serves as the port of Perth, the state capital. Fremantle was the first area settled by the Swan River colonists in 1829. It was declared a city in 1929, and has a population of approximately 25,000.
The city is named after Captain Charles Fremantle, the English naval officer who had pronounced possession of Western Australia and who established a camp at the site. The city contains well-preserved 19th-century buildings and other heritage features. The Western Australian vernacular diminutive for Fremantle is Freo..
Perth, Western Australia
Aerial view of Fremantle
Fremantle lies on a series of limestone hills known by the Nyungar people as Booyeembara; the sandplain to the east isGardoo. The original vegetation of the area was mainly Xanthorrhoea and eucalyptus trees, which were traditionally fired annually by the Aboriginal people.
Fremantle is the end of the Fremantle railway line which runs from Perth to Fremantle, run by the Western Australia'sPublic Transport Authority. Major highways including Stirling Highway, Canning Highway and Leach Highway have Fremantle as their start point and/or terminus.
The traditional owners of the land on which the city of Fremantle is built are the Whadjuk Noongar people who called the area Walyalup ("the place of crying") .To the local Noongar people, Fremantle is a place of ceremonies, significant cultural practices and trading.
Anglesea Point and the limestone hill area at Arthur Head (where the Round House prison stands) to Point Marquis was called Manjaree, an important meeting place where bush paths converged and a major trading place for Whadjuk and neighbouring Noongars. Today, Whadjuk and other Noongars continue to gather and meet in Walyalup and at Manjaree.
The area was considered as a site for possible British settlement in 1827, when Captain James Stirling, in HMS Success, explored the coastal areas near the Swan River. His favourable report was welcomed by the British Government, who had for some time been suspicious of French colonial intentions towards the western portion of Australia. As a result of Stirling's report, Captain Charles Howe Fremantle of HMS Challenger, a 603 ton, 28-gun frigate, was instructed to sail to the west coast of Australia to establish a settlement there.
On 2 May 1829, Fremantle hoisted the Union Flag in a bay near what is now known as Arthur Head, and in accordance with his instructions, took formal possession "of the whole of the West Coast of New Holland" in the name of George IV of the United Kingdom.
Western Australia Day (formerly Foundation Day) is observed on the first Monday in June, although it was actually on 2 June 1829 that Captain James Stirling on the Parmelia arrived with Surveyor-General Roe and the first contingent of immigrants to set up the Swan River Colony. The settlement of Perth began on 12 August 1829.
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".
On 1 June 1850, the first convicts arrived at Fremantle aboard the Scindian. The thirty-seventh and last convict ship to dock at Fremantle was the Hougoumont on 10 January 1868, signalling the end of penal transportation to Australia. Among the 280 convicts on board were 62 Fenian military and political prisoners—members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood—six of whom managed to escape the Convict Establishment in the Catalpa rescue of 1876. During this period, notorious South Sea pirate Bully Hayes lived in Fremantle with his fiancée Miss Scott, daughter of the Fremantle Harbour Master..
During World War II, Fremantle was the home of the largest base for Allied submarines in the Southern Hemisphere. 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 was considered a "veritable Shangri-la" among submariners during the war, however tensions between transient American and non-American soldiers often led to alcohol-fuelled violence. On 11 April 1944, a brawl between U.S. and New Zealand servicemen at the National Hotel resulted in the death from stab wounds of two Māori soldiers..
The City of Fremantle introduced several urban renewal projects in 2012, encouraging mixed-use development by increasing the maximum building height on key sites in the CBD, including Kings Square and the inner East End..In January 2013, the City of Fremantle became the first council in Australia to outlaw the use of non-degradable plastic bags within their local area..
The Fremantle state seat was continuously held by the Australian Labor Party from 1924 until 2009, when it was lost at a by-election to Greens candidate Adele Carles. The seat was returned to Labor (Simone McGurk) in the 2013 State election. The federal electorate has returned Labor members continuously since 1934, including former Prime Minister John Curtin, and is represented by Melissa Parke.
Fremantle has been represented by 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 after him, and his statue stands in Kings Square near the Fremantle Town Hall. A long-serving mayor of the town, Sir Frank Gibson (1919–1923 and 1926–1952), was also a Liberal parliamentarian from 1942 to 1956. Gibson, a pharmacist with a shop in 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. Carmen Lawrence, the first female premier of an Australian state, later represented Fremantle in the federal House of Representatives.
On 10 November 2006, Australian state and territory attorney-generals met in Fremantle to sign the Fremantle Declaration, a restatement and affirmation of legal and human rights principles in Australia. In 2011, Prime Minister Julia Gillardlaunched the Commonwealth Youth Forum in Fremantle as part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2011, held in Perth 28–30 October..
Fremantle is renowned for its well-preserved architectural heritage, including convict-built colonial-era buildings, an old jetty and port, and prisons; presenting a variety and unity of historic buildings and streetscapes. These were often built in limestone with ornate façades in a succession of architectural styles. Rapid development following the harbour works gave rise to an Edwardian precinct as merchant and shipping companies built in the west end and on reclaimed land.
The Round House, the oldest remaining intact building in Western Australia, was built as a gaol between 1830 and 1831. 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. 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 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.
|Australian Convict Sites|
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, Fremantle Prison, which was completed in the 1850s and continued to be used as Fremantle's prison until 1991. 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. On 1 August 2010, a meeting of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Brazil placed Fremantle Prison and 10 other "Australian Convict Sites" on the World Heritage List - making it the first built environment in Western Australia to be bestowed this honour. It continues to be accessible to the public for guided tours and as a venue for artistic and cultural activities.
The Fremantle Arts Centre is another building constructed in the 1860s by convicts from locally quarried limestone: it is a former lunatic asylum building on Ord Street, and is one of Fremantle's most significant landmarks. Today the imposing Victorian Gothic building and its historic courtyards are used for art exhibitions and music concerts.
The Fremantle Markets opened in 1897, forming a precinct providing handicrafts, speciality foods, dining halls and fish and vegetable markets. The area also hosts buskers and other street performers. The then premier, Sir John Forrest, laid the foundation stone for the markets on Saturday 6 November 1897. Over 150 stalls are housed in the Victorian-era building, which was listed by the National Trust of Australia and the state's Heritage Council in 1980. The Fremantle Markets are adjacent to several other historic buildings, including the Sail & Anchor Hotel (which contains a microbrewery), the Norfolk Hotel, the Warders Cottages, the Fremantle Technical School, and Scots Presbyterian Church.
Some key historical buildings have been lost to development, while others are only extant thanks to community activism that went against the wishes of developers. For example, the art deco Oriana Cinema on the corner of Queen and High streets was demolished in 1972, after only 34 years of operation. This was done to make way for the widening of High Street, but that project was stopped thanks to the campaigning of The Fremantle Society and other community members, and the buildings along the southern side of High Street were retained. The Fremantle Markets nearly suffered a similar fate in the late 70s due to another road-widening proposal..
The National Hotel, one of the city's historic buildings, was almost destroyed by fire on the night of Sunday, 11 March 2007. Though the interior was gutted, the façade was saved and the building has since been fully restored with an additional rooftop bar..
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