Streamlined approvals to benefit West End property owners


Property owners in Fremantle’s historic West End will benefit from a streamlined approvals process for minor works on their buildings.

Under a new legislative framework approved this week, the City of Fremantle will now be able to approve minor works to heritage-listed buildings in the West End without needing to refer the proposal to the Heritage Council.

Cutting red-tape for property owners is another benefit of having the entire West End of Fremantle included on the State Register of Heritage Places.

The largely intact gold rush-era streetscapes in the West End are something that really make Fremantle special and differentiate the city from the rest of Perth. The City of Fremantle nominated the West End for inclusion on the State Register and worked very closely with the State Heritage Office and property owners for more than a year to make it happen.

It was always part of that plan to streamline the heritage assessment and approvals process to make it quicker and easier for West End property owners to look after their buildings and put them to good use.

The West End became the largest single place to be permanently included in the State Register of Heritage places in July 2017.

The Heritage Council’s Delegations Framework grants the City of Fremantle authority to assess minor or routine works to heritage buildings, in accordance with Section 11 of the Heritage of Western Australia Act 1990.

Proposals for moderate to major works to a heritage building will still be referred to the Heritage Council for advice and comment.

The heritage listing of the West End also gives property owners the opportunity to access state government funding through the Heritage Council of WA grants program.

Recipients in the latest round of heritage grants included St John’s Anglican Church in Kings Square and the commercial building at 3 Pakenham Street.

Is High Street in Fremantle WA’s most historically rich street?

The West Australian yesterday (Kent Acott

A nice way to start the year in Freo:

Is High Street in Fremantle WA’s most historically rich street?

You could mount a fairly strong argument that Fremantle’s High Street is the most historically important street in WA.

That is certainly the view of the port city’s mayor Brad Pettitt.

Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt on High Street looking east.
Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt on High Street looking east. Picture: Sharon Smith

“From a heritage perspective, the west end of High Street is probably the most significant street in WA, with the Round House — WA’s oldest public building — at one end and the magnificent Fremantle Town Hall — built in 1887 — at the other,” he said.

“It’s a wonderfully intact street at the centre of a wonderfully intact heritage precinct.

Fremantle Harbour, blasting, 1894.
Fremantle Harbour, blasting, 1894.Picture: State Library of WA

“In 2017, the entire west end of Fremantle became the largest single place to be permanently included in the State Register of Heritage Places thanks to its incredible collection of gold-rush-era buildings, which reflect the growing confidence and civic pride in WA at the turn of the century.

“Interestingly, the heritage streetscape along High Street that we all love today was only made possible through the demolition of dozens of buildings dating from the original settlement of Fremantle in 1829.

Construction of Victoria Quay, Fremantle Harbour, circa 1892-97.
Construction of Victoria Quay, Fremantle Harbour, circa 1892-97.Picture: State Library of WA

“In the context of the current renewal of the east end of Fremantle, it’s a reminder that Fremantle has always been a dynamic place, renewed and refreshed over time.

“It has been especially gratifying to see the adaptive reuse of these heritage buildings into a new range of interesting 21st century businesses and seeing this part of High Street come back to life.”

High Street, 1895.
High Street, 1895.Picture: State Library of WA

Of course, at Fremantle’s heart is its harbour.

In the early days of the settlement, shipping was served by a jetty that extended into the open sea from Bathers Beach.

High Street, 1890-1900.
High Street, 1890-1900.Picture: State Library of WA

In 1897, government engineer C.Y. O’Connor oversaw the deepening of the harbour and removed the limestone bar and sand shoals from its entrance — thus creating a serviceable port for commercial shipping.

The two moles were built to protect the harbour entrance and land was reclaimed to build quays and warehouses. The inner harbour was opened on May 4, 1897. The harbour’s basic structure and layout remain the same today.

Destination WA episode on Fremantle Tours

This Destination WA episode on Fremantle Tours is good fun and worth a look.

Fremantle Town Hall Restoration the Best in the Nation

The meticulous restoration of the historic Fremantle Town Hall has taken out a national construction industry award.

McCorkell Constructions, the City of Fremantle’s contractor on the $3.1 million project, won the ‘National Commercial Historical Restoration/Renovation’ award at the Master Builders Australia National Excellence in Construction awards on the weekend.

The 2018 MBA National Awards Dinner was held on Saturday at the Adelaide Convention Centre.

 The Town Hall restoration became eligible for the national awards after winning the state award in July. The project was also recognised with a WA Heritage Award earlier this year.

Everyone involved in the Town Hall project should be proud of their achievement.

The Town Hall is obviously a very important building for Fremantle and one that we all cherish. The level of skill and attention detail that was required to return the Town Hall to its original splendour was quite remarkable, so for the project to be recognised as the best historical restoration in Australia is a well-deserved reward.

The restoration of the 130-year-old Town Hall, which was completed in May 2017, was the largest heritage conservation project ever undertaken by the City of Fremantle.

It reinstated the building’s traditional appearance by stripping the paint off the walls to reveal the original stucco exterior, and also included reconstructing the slate roofs and refurbishing the historic clock.

A further $250,000 has been allocated to begin restoring the interior of the building.

The recent demolition of the adjoining 1960s City of Fremantle administration building has revealed the rear walls of the Town Hall for the first time in around 120 years.

City Heritage Officer Gena Binet said the original limestone on the east facing wall was in much better condition than anticipated.

“We could not conserve or inspect the rear walls of the Town Hall during our recent external conservation project because they were hidden by the old administration buildings,” Ms Binet said.

“We were concerned they may have been damaged when the 1960s building was built or that they may have been rendered with cement, which would have caused the stone to deteriorate.

“This part of the wall is like a time capsule recording how the building has changed over the years. You can see where new openings have been made and then blocked up, plus the scars of earlier structures like fire escape stairs.


“However, we are puzzled by one of the blocked up openings – the upper level one closest to the High Street Mall. It doesn’t seem to serve any purpose, so if anyone has any ideas why it’s there we’d love to hear from them.”


Fremantle Oval in 1968

With the Fremantle Oval redevelopment coming into focus I thought it timely to share this gem from a 1968 South Fremantle Football Club training session.

Not only will you see John Todd, Graeme Scott, Norm Cox, Kevin Miller, Gary Greer and Peter Troode kicking the ball around the Fremantle Oval but the last minute or so has some great historic footage of Fremantle viewed from the oval including the Knowle and other historic buildings.


1960s City of Fremantle Administration Building Almost Gone

The not greatly loved 1960s built City of Fremantle administration and library building in Kings Square will be completely gone in a matter of weeks.

The building was assessed as being asbestos-free last month, following a four month asbestos removal program to prepare it for the final demolition phase.

This final phase will see the building demolished with the majority of the structure recycled.  The site will then be prepared for the construction of a modern, competition-winning new civic, administration and library building as part of the broader Kings Square Renewal project.

Demolition activities are currently focusing on the delicate separation of the building from the Fremantle Town Hall, some of it done by hand to protect the heritage-listed building.

Pleasingly it has gone well and the original limestone wall of the Fremantle Town Hall are now visible for the first time in decades and will be a feature in the new civic building.



Grants support State’s cultural heritage announced today

Today the State Government announced funding of $1.22 million allocated to 22 heritage places including two in Fremantle.  The program, overseen by the Heritage Council of Western Australia, offers dollar-for-dollar funding of up to $100,000 to help private owners conserve and revitalise their properties.

The full list is here:

The Freo ones are:

St John’s Anglican Church, Fremantle – $87,812.04

Adjacent the Fremantle Town Hall, St John’s in Fremantle has served the local Anglican Community for almost 140 years, standing near the site of its predecessor, which was built in 1843. The church employs random coursed limestone in its walls, with raised mortar pointing giving a distinctive appearance.

This year’s funding will assist with the underpinning and repair of the collapsing north west corner of the church and assist with the replacement of rainwater goods for the building, ensuring it remains structurally stable and can continue to serve the local Anglican community for many years to come.


3 Pakenham Street, Fremantle West End –  $40,105.10

Located in Fremantle’s historic West End precinct, the commercial building at 3 Pakenham Street was built in the 1920s and once presented with rendered bands and tuck-pointed red brick that is now concealed behind layers of paint. The windows have also been altered over time, along with the goods entrance (roller door).

This year’s Heritage Council funding will assist in reinstating the original tuck-pointed presentation of the facade, and is part of an overall plan to reactivate the building and create a bespoke gin distillery.