Fremantle’s iconic West End precinct looks to State Heritage Listing

As you may have seen in the media today the Heritage Council of Western Australia is seeking the community’s view on the proposal to include Fremantle’s iconic West End precinct in the State Register of Heritage Places.

This is very exciting news for Fremantle. If listed, the West End would constitute the largest ever addition to the register and would include around 250 buildings covering an area of approximately 20 hectares (200 000 sqm).

The potential listing would have many flow-on benefits for the broader community and owners of properties within the nominated area. The City has for a long time recognised the cultural heritage value of the precinct and inclusion on the State Heritage Register would not only provide the recognition the area deserves, it can also help unlock further potential for economic growth in a place that was the epicentre for commerce for much of Fremantle’s history.

I encourage the entire community, but particularly owners and tenants in the West End, to support this initiative by making their comments through the State Heritage Office.

Benefits of registration

Heritage has always been an important factor in tourism in Fremantle, but increasingly, heritage is also proving a unique point of difference for businesses like bars and eateries, as well as for local retailers, who are successfully adapting heritage buildings for modern needs.

“We’ve seen some fantastic heritage adaptations in recent years with businesses such as Bread in Common, The Esplanade Hotel Fremantle by Rydges, the National Hotel and many others all using heritage as a business advantage.

It’s a common misconception that heritage listing a property means owners cannot make any changes to their properties but this is not the case. Adaptations which are sympathetic to heritage values can open a place to new uses and make it relevant to contemporary life

As well as the recognition of the West End’s significance as a unique and valuable place in WA, inclusion in the State Register:

  • provides an opportunity for private owners of registered properties to apply for heritage grants from the Heritage Council
  • delivers a point of difference for businesses in the area who can market their business as being part of a State Heritage Listed historic precinct
  • allows property owners to register their interest in the Heritage Council’s plaque program whereby heritage plaques can be produced and prominently displayed on their property
  • opens up the potential for the City to use the West End’s heritage status in future marketing and economic development initiatives for the precinct
  • does not prevent an owner from making changes to their property. Owners will continue to apply to the City of Fremantle for routine development approvals, with more significant proposals referred to the Heritage Council for advice.
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Next steps

The State Heritage Office has now commenced stakeholder engagement. This process includes engaging with the more than 400 owners and 295 tenants to seek their views on the proposed registration. A final decision on whether the West End will be entered in the State Register will be made by the Minister for Heritage after considering comments received.


In 2014 the City of Fremantle nominated the West End of Fremantle to the Heritage Council for them to consider its inclusion on the State Register of Heritage Places given its cultural heritage significance to Western Australia.

The nomination followed a recommendation of the West End Working Group, consisting of City officials and community representatives, which was established in 2010 specifically to look at heritage listing the West End of Fremantle.

The area nominated by the West End Working Group (and that which is now under consideration for registration) is bounded by Market Street to the east, Collie Street and Marine Terrace to the south, Little High Street to the west and Phillimore Street to the north. These boundaries define the original ‘business district’ of gold-boom Fremantle. It is a highly intact precinct that boasts an impressive variety of Federation-era buildings that illustrate the workings of a port city in the 1890s to 1900s.

Following a preliminary assessment, the Heritage Council resolved that it should be considered for registration.


View the State Heritage Office media release

View the West End curtilage map

Visit for more information




not worth making an issue of, but for the record his statement that the Council ignored the recommendation of the West End Working Group is not correct – the FINAL recommendation of the WEWG to Council in September 2013 supported nomination of the area which has now been proposed, not the bigger area including Kings Square and the Prison

About Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog
City of Fremantle Mayor

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