Thursday, 9 February 2012

A to Z of Australia - F is for Fremantle

As I was putting the finishing touches to my post about Fremantle, I heard on the 1o´clock news that the Queen Mary II was docked in Fremantle for the day and was departing at 5pm. I could not pass the opportunity to see this grand ship, and to photograph it to go with my post about Fremantle.
So I took a train and waited a couple of hours until her departure to Adelaide.
Photos can be seen at the end of this post and a sequence on the PHOTOS page as well.

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Fremantle or Freo, as the locals affectionately call it, is the main sea port for Perth, and it´s about a 20min drive from the city centre.
It was named after Captain Charles Howe Fremantle, an English naval officer who established a camp in the area.
A container ship coming in, on the right side the WA Maritime Museum

The same container ship being tugged into the harbour

It´s a multicultural city, with charming 19th century architecture and a fascinating maritime and convict history too.
All of my visitors to Perth have enjoyed spending a few days trailing the tourist spots like the Fremantle prison, the WA Maritime Museum where they have the Welcome Walls, full of names of immigrants and the ships they arrived in at the Fremantle port, or a peep at the weekend Fremantle markets where they stock up on the souvenirs to take back home.
The Welcome wall at the WA Maritime Museum where names of immigrants and the ships they arrived in are recorded

The atmosphere in Fremantle is relaxing, there are a lot of street cafes, fresh fish and chips restaurants by the harbour and a few breweries too. A lot of people that own boats have them in stacking storage in Fremantle.
At night the pubs and clubs are alive with music, lights and lots of people.

Bon Scott- Scottish born who migrated to Australia at the age of 3, lived in Fremantle, died in 1980 and buried at Fremantle cemitery.  He was the lead vocalist of the rock group AC/DC.
The statue of the cray fisherman and behind a few of the Fish and chips restaurants by the harbour

The stacked boat at he harbour

The Round House in Fremantle´s west end, was the first jail built in limestone in 1830 by the convicts, with just 8 cells and the jailer´s residence. A tunnel was later built under the Round House to provide whalers with access to the town from the beach and jetty. In the West end you can see a lot of Georgian and Victorian style housing, and a lot of new conversions into modern style apartment living.
The Roundhouse - first Fremantle prison

The West end, by the Roundhouse - Victorian buildings

An old side facade with a new apartment block built behind it

When a new prison building was built to accommodate the 75 convicts that arrived from Britain in 1850, the Round House was inadequate and a new prison was built, by the convicts once again. It was finished in 1850 and was last used in 1991. The conditions were deplorable, not enough bathroom facilities for all the inmates, hangings were commonplace, and eventually a revolting crowd set fire to it, causing some damage to the ceiling. A few years later is was closed.
The Prison
It is now a popular venue with the tourists, with night Ghost tours, tours to the underground tunnels and inside tours to visit the rooms, chapel, courtyard, and to see the wall art of the prisoners.
Artwork painted on the walls of the cells
A boat built with Porridge by one of the inmates
Prison gates looking into the courtyard

The Fremantle Arts Centre, another building built by convicts in 1860. It was formerly an asylum, today used for art exhibitions and music concerts.

Fremantle Arts Centre

The Markets which were opened in 1897, are opened from Friday to Sunday only and you can find over 150 stalls selling crafts, speciality foods, and a section for fruit and vegetables and fish. Outside a lot of buskers and street performers vie for your attention and tips.

The Fremantle Markets
Nearby the National Hotel, another historic building was almost destroyed by fire in 2007, and though the interior was gutted, the facade was saved and the building has been fully restored.

The National Hotel
Some of the lovely buildings in Fremantle
Fremantle War memorial at Monument Hill has 360º views of Fremantle

As I mentioned at the beginning, I had the great pleasure of seeing the Queen Mary II departing from Fremantle to Adelaide this afternoon. She truly is a majestic ship! There were thousands of people all over the harbour and the atmosphere was of excitement and awe. It was lovely to see a lot of small vessels accompanying the liner to the open sea.

When I grow up I also want to travel on the Queen Mary or a similar one ship!

The WA Maritime Museum with Queen Mary II

A lot of small vessels followed the liner to sea, and passengers waved and shouted "Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie" while the well wishers shouted back "Oi, Oi, Oi"


  1. Great post, Sami. I wish I'd made it to Freemantle when I was in Australia. It's great to see the old buildings are being used to good effect these days - I've always been a sucker for older architectural styles. I was impressed by the art work in the prison, too.

  2. Hi Julie - There is a small gallery attached to the prison where they have most of the inmates art work. I suppose they had to occupy their time doing something, and art was certainly an escape. A lot of the bedrooms have walls with art too, just like the photo on the blog.

  3. Great trip through Fremantle Sami, and the Queen Mary looks magnificent, so huge. Unfortunately I missed her this time, will try to get down there when she comes back at the end of the month.

  4. Free looks my kind of place Sami, I'm coming right over and that Porridge boat is going to be mine!

    I saw Queen Mary 1 docked in Long Island in the States a few years ago. Majestic! I would have loved to go on board but we were in transit. Nice post.

  5. Thanks Grace and Johanna. It really was a worthwhile visit to see the Queen Mary II. I was amazed at her size!

  6. Great post. Stunning pictures!!

  7. The Queen Mary 2 comes to Cape Town too...! I've3 never take a cruise, but I'd love to take it to Sydney!


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