One way to do Fremantle

In the previous edition of ‘One Way to do Perth’ I mentioned that cruise ships actually dock at the port of Fremantle. Perth of course gets the first mention in all cruise brochures though I am hopefully going to show that Fremantle can equally occupy a full day for the cruise  passenger. This is one way to do Fremantle

Fremantle is the major  port of Western Australia and is located at the mouth of the Swan River. The area was first settled in 1829 and is named after the naval officer who established the first camp site. It was declared a city in 1929, and has a population of approximately 27,000.

The city contains well-preserved 19th century buildings and other heritage features and is well worth a visit. Some examples are the Old P&O Hotel

A more modern use for an older building…

…and the Old Courthouse

However, one of Fremantle’s major attractions has to be Fremantle Prison…

 

Fremantle Prison is the largest and most intact convict built prison in Australia and is Western Australia’s only World Heritage Listed Building. It was continuously used as a place of incarceration for almost 140 years. The prison was decommissioned as a maximum-security gaol in 1991.

The prison is one of eleven World Heritage-listed Australian Convict Sites occupying 15-acres. It was constructed as a prison  using convict labour between 1851 and 1859. The prison eventually closed in 1991 and is now open daily with full guided tours given to visitors…

To the side of the main entrance can be found the preserved staff quarters and family homes…

The entrance fee includes a guided tour and, once through the Main Gate,  the foreboding Main Cell Block dominates the site. Apart from the cells, kitchens and gallows, it also contains two chapels.

A quick tour

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…and one of the shaded ‘eating and exercise’ yards…

And the one you’ve all been waiting for, The Gallows...

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Without doubt the highlight of a visit to the prison is the entertaining tours conducted by experienced tour guides who bring the rich folklore and stories of the prison to life.

Those stories were well understood as on our way back into town we passed what was once the convict built ramp leading to the prison…

 

Prior to returning to the town and waterfront we made a slight diversion to Monument Hill…

…an 11-acre public reserve overlooking the town and harbour of Fremantle. The main memorial itself comprises a large obelisk, the Fallen Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial…

 

There are eight smaller memorials to various forces and units of the Australian Military –  all impressive memorials of which I have singled out this one which is particularly enhanced by the background view, the Royal Australian Navy Corvettes Association Memorial...

Well worth the walk for either the view or to pay one’s respects.

Our return walk into town took us past a number of sites worth a mention including the Fremantle Oval...

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…and Fremantle Town Hall…

…where a little busking didn’t go amiss to help pay for lunch.

We also spotted a bronze statue of the Italian immigrant sculptor, Pietro Porcelli,  by Perth artist Greg James in Kings Square

…and a local Tram Tour which could prove useful to those unable to walk great distances…

Fremantle also has a bustling waterfront where fresh fish is landed daily…

Careful scrutiny centre left of the picture above reveals the venue we chose for lunch, The Mussel Bar…

And why not. A Seafood Platter...

…washed down with an Aussie Sauvignon Blanc...

There is of course a great choice of restaurants on the waterfront…

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…as well as old renovated shipping warehouses that are now retail outlets…

…the E Shed cargo store, which has been a part of Victoria Quay for almost 100 years, the popular E Shed Markets offering fresh produce, an array of tasty food options at the food court, as well as a distinctive shopping experience for those after something a little different. All are within easy walking distance of the cruise terminal.

Also on the same waterfront is the Maritime Museum

I particularly loved the statuettes just in front. Kind of reminded me of my old mate Whitstable Dave who was a ‘Ten Pound Pom’ that didn’t stay…

Adjacent to the maritime Museum is the Oberon class submarine formerly of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). She was the first submarine to be preserved in Australia as a museum ship – HMAS Ovens

 

HMAS Ovens is open to the public. Tours are available with the proviso that they  involve strenuous activites such as walking up and down flights of scaffold stairs, stepping over bulkheads, manoeuvring through confined spaces, bending through narrow hatchways and climbing up and down steeply inclined ladders – what better way to experience life as a submariner?

Close by is the Western Australia Shipwreck Galleries Museum

A final piece of heritage and, again, well worth a visit if time permits is Arthur Head Reserve...

 

Accessed through the short Whaler’s Tunnel…

 

The Whalers’ Tunnel was built by the  Fremantle Whaling Company in 1837 to transport goods between the original port at Bathers Beach & the town at Arthur’s Head. It was the first tunnel built in Western Australia and runs directly below the Roundhouse, the oldest building in Western Australia which was originally built as a jail while  Whalers’ Tunnel is the only remaining structure of the whaling station..

Additionally, the tunnel also gives access to the Bather’s Beach

That concludes this edition of ‘One Way to do Fremantle. I trust it has proved both interesting and informative reading.

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