Fremantle - Preserved in Time
Fremantle is a diverse seaside town that sits at the mouth of the Swan River and has served as a major port since 1829. Much of the townsite is heritage listed, preserving a stunning maritime streetscape in perpetuity. It has an air of relaxation and easy living and is known locally for its creative arts, fishing harbour, weekend markets and general social liberalism.
The population of Fremantle town is only 10,000 but locals and visitors flood the neighbourhood on weekends, turning it into a fun, family-friendly destination.
At the ocean end of town lies the “West End”, a collection of 1800s warehouses and hotels which now house galleries, cafés, bars and shops. It is also home to a university campus. The streets are tailor made for exploring and contain hidden treasures that reveal insights into the past. It also contains Bathers Beach - a lovely little swimming beach on a warm day.
The Fremantle Markets were established in 1897 and still trade on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Inside you will find locals stocking up on fresh, locally grown produce and gourmet food-to-go. You will also find an array of crafts, dining, souvenirs and a collection of Westraliana.
The main ‘strip’ of Fremantle (South Terrace) is colloquially referred to as the Cappuccino Strip. It derived this name after the alfresco dining habits of Italian and Greek immigrants who overtook the street during the early 1900s. Further down South Terrace is the high street of South Fremantle, an easy 15-minute stroll away.
Fishing Boat Harbour, which contains the famous Little Creatures Brewery and landmark fish and chip eateries, offers a wonderful view of the working fishing industry and recreational boaters who use the harbour on a daily basis.
Fremantle Prison is an important heritage landmark that stands on a hill overlooking the town in a traditional Victorian manner. It served as a British convict prison in the 1800s and was home to more than 10,000 transported convicts. It then served as a maximum-security prison until closing in 1991 when it became UNESCO World Heritage listed and a popular visitor attraction.
Fremantle is also an important Noongar site. The Whadjuk Noongar name for the area is Walyalup, which translates to “place of tears”. Traditionally, the deceased would be buried in the soft sand dunes with the spirit crossing the ocean to Rottnest Island, or Wadjemup, which translates to “place across the water where spirits go”.