Friday, August 16, 2013


The above is an aerial view of Fremantle and its harbour with the Swan River wending its way towards Perth and beyond.  (Our home is 4.9km south-east of Fremantle; about a 5-8 minute drive.....depending on the traffic).

To quote Wikipedia, Fremantle 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 on the west coast by the Swan River colonists in 1829.  It was declared a city in 1929, and has a population of approximately 25,000.

Statue of engineer C.Y. O'Connor who designed Fremantle harbour:

The city is named after Captain Charles Howe Fremantle, the English naval officer who had pronounced possession of Western Australia and established a camp on the site. The city contains well-preserved 19th century buildings and other heritage features.  The Western Australian vernacular diminutive for Fremantle is FREO.  The Roundhouse was the first prison in Fremantle:

Fremantle railway station:

Some well cared for heritage buildings in High Street:

Fremantle lies on a series of limestone hills known by the Nyungar people as "Booyeembara"; the sandplain to the east is "Gardoo".  The original vegetation of the area was mainly Xanthorrhoea and eucalyptus trees, which were traditionally 'fired' annually by the Aboriginal people.

Note:  Xanthorrhoea were previously called 'blackboys' but as some found the name offensive they are now known as grass trees.  We older folk still tend to refer to them as blackboys and mean no offence to anyone.  This is Xanthorroea australis:

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 HM Challenger, a 603 ton, 28-gun frigate, was instructed to sail to the west coast of Australia to establish a settlement there.

On 2nd May, 1829, Captain 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.  (Remember 2 years earlier in 1827 a similar event took place on the south coast of Western Australia where Albany now stands).

The first convicts (possibly more about our W.A. convicts in a later post) arrived at Fremantle on 1st June, 1850 aboard the "Scindian".  The thirty-seventh and last convict ship to dock at Fremantle was the "Hougoumont" on 10th January, 1868 signalling the end of penal transportation to Australia.

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.

Australian Rules football is a very popular game in Western Australia, as it is in most Australian states, and there were 8 football teams competed each week during the winter months (they still do but now there are also AFL teams in each state that compete nationally).  John Gerovich, who played for South Fremantle, was well known for his high marking of the ball and this statue of his spectacular mark in the 1956 preliminary final has been commemorated in bronze.  It stands in front the 1890's Victoria Pavillion in the Fremantle football oval.

The Fremantle Maritime Museum is one of the more modern buildings in Fremantle and attracts many visitors year round:

Locals and visitors travel to the Fremantle Fishing Boat Harbour for delicious seafood:

You will often find buskers making music in the mall and here in the Fremantle Markets two locals make music with their didgeridoos:

River also supplied some wonderful photographs of Fremantle she took when over here in Western Australia visiting her brother recently.


  1. Of course, the BEST thing about blogging is meeting so many interesting people around the world, but the next best thing is being able to "see" and learn about so many places in the world we wouldn't otherwise see or know. Thanks so much for this post! Lots of new things here for me.

    That Roundhouse is neat-looking. Way back when, one of my ancestors in Scotland was shipped to a penal colony of some sort in Australia. Makes me wonder if he spent time there in that roundhouse.

    You're gonna think I'm terribly dumb, but I didn't realize Australians played American-style football. (See what neat stuff I learn here?)

    Happy weekend!

    1. Thanks Susan. Glad you are enjoying posts about our country.
      The Roundhouse was actually the fist gaol built in W.A. but is now of course a showpiece for tourists to visit. A larger gaol was built a few years later by convicts and is now a museum where they hold different events throughout the year.
      Aussie Rules football is nothing at all like American-style football. They wear no padding of any kind although there are plenty of knocks and bumps and injuries are sustained every week.
      Australians also play two types of rugby - Union and League and of course soccer is ver popular here, especially among many of the migrants.
      My daughter also had two convicts transported from the UK years ago and she attended a ceremony at the old Fremantle gaol to receive certificates showing her ancestry which was quite exciting for her (I went along as her guest that day).

  2. I went to Freemantle for work many years ago, and have fond memories. It is a lovely city. Thank you.
    And sadly, I find black boys (and again no offence) MUCH easier to say and to remember...

    1. I'm not sure you would find Fremantle to be the same as you knew it back then. There have been changes and I feel the city is evolving slowly in keeping with modern times. I am so pleased though that they have kept many of their older buildings; unlike Perth where so many were demolished to make way for those monstrosities made of metal and glass.
      I too find blackboys easier to say and still call them that (we have them growing quite near here on the road median strip) and often forget the other name...grass trees. We truly are becoming far too politcally correct about so many simple things.

  3. I love Fremantle and hope to be able to settle down that way in the not to distant future. thanks for the great post and all of the information. xxx Rae

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Rae. River has posted some great pics in and around Freo from when she visited from South Australia recently.

  4. I'm glad to see photos of places that I didn't get around to seeing. Next time I'm there I plan on taking the Ferry up the Swan to Perth and back again.

    1. A river cruise is very enjoyable. There are also the cruises that go up the river to the various vineyards in the Swan Valley. They are very popular.

  5. Hi I came across your blog from my friend Yamini who has been writing on her blog about our first trip to Austrailia in 1984. We started our trip in Perth, do not think we went to Fremantle, which looks great and sorry I missed it.

    I am enjoying reading your posts.

    You can read about Yam's memories of Perth here:

    Sorry not sure how to put a proper link to the page.


    1. Thanks so much for paying my blog a visit. I don't have many followers so it's always exciting to meet someone new. Fremantle is on the coast and only 12 miles from Perth so perhaps you did visit but not realise it? Thank you for the link. I am not sure how to do most things on the computer so always compliment people who can.

  6. I enjoyed learning about "footy" when I was there for the Championships in 2003. It makes our American guys look like wimps with all their padding, time-outs, and offensive and defensive teams. If I lived in Australia, I think I could become a real footy fan.

  7. (Of course the best thing about the footy game was the meat pies!)

  8. I am sure you would love watching Aussie Rules football. They certainly are quite rough and tough. The meat pies were always the 'thing' at the game.