Fremantle time line
The time line provides a chronology of key Fremantle events since settlement.
Capt C.H. Fremantle claimed the west coast of Australia for the British
crown. First settlers landed.
1831 Round House built for use as gaol; first school opened.
1833 First town plan of Fremantle by Surveyor–General J.S.Roe.
Two whaling companies operating at Bathers Bay. Construction of
1837 small breakwater and tunnel under Round House for transport of
1848 Fremantle Town Trust established (Capt. Daniel Scott, Chairman).
1850 First convicts arrived aboard Scindian (June).
Construction of Fremantle Prison began. Fremantle Literary Institute
Construction of Fremantle Lunatic Asylum began; building completed
1866 Convict labour used to build first bridge over river at Fremantle.
1868 Last convicts arrived aboard Hougoumont.
Municipal Corporations Act passed; Fremantle Town Council
established (W.S. Pearse, chairman).
1876 Six Fenian prisoners escaped aboard American whaler Catalpa.
1879 Reserve land (now Fremantle Park) vested in Fremantle Town Council.
1881 Perth – Fremantle railway opened.
1882 St John's Anglican Church built.
Fremantle Municipal Council established (Barrington Wood, mayor).
Central Fremantle streets lit by gas lamps.
Fremantle Town Hall opened 22 June. Telephone exchange opened in
building the following year.
North Fremantle gazetted as separate municipality. Fremantle Oval first
used for football. Fremantle Hospital established.
Fremantle Harbour opened with arrival of SS Sultan. Four new hotels
1897 opened. High Street (to Adelaide Street) paved with wooden blocks.
East Fremantle gazetted as separate municipality.
1898 Fremantle Markets built; Mills & Ware opened.
1902 Death of C.Y.O’Connor; Princess May School opened.
1906 Fremantle Tramways opened. Sea baths built near Long Jetty.
Fremantle Railway Station opened adjacent to Fremantle Harbour.
Beginning of South Beach development as holiday destination.
Troops embark from Fremantle for WWI. Port used for naval and
Bloody Sunday 4 May; lumper Tom Edwards shot in waterfront
industrial dispute. Spanish Flu epidemic.
Uglieland fairground opened opposite railway station (later, Pioneer
Park site); ran till 1936 raising funds for welfare.
Fremantle War Memorial on Monument Hill unveiled Armistice Day, 11
Centenary of Fremantle’s foundation. Fremantle proclaimed a city 3
June; Frank Gibson first mayor.
Hazel Orme Kindergarten opened: one of first in WA, served as model
for future Kindergarten Union preschools.
New traffic bridge opened. Beginning of Fremantle’s involvement as
naval port in WWII.
O’Connor Industrial area established. Beginning of post-war
immigration programs bringing migrant ships to Fremantle.
Opening of Evan Davies Civic Library in former Fremantle Literary
1949 Institute building in South Terrace (first wholly rate-supported library in
1952 Closure of Fremantle tram service.
Last students from Fremantle Boys’ and Princess May Girls’ Schools
transferred to new John Curtin High School.
1961 North Fremantle re-joined Fremantle City Council.
Fremantle Port Authority Building, Fremantle Passenger Terminal and
1964 North Fremantle Grain Silos all completed. New rail bridge (upriver from
original bridge) opened.
Esme Fletcher Day Nursery opened; also South Fremantle High
Encounter Bay (first container ship at Fremantle) arrived 28 March;
official opening of first container berth 29 March.
Former Fremantle Lunatic Asylum building restored; re-opened as
Fremantle Arts Centre, 13 October. Fremantle Society founded.
1974 Stirling Traffic bridge opened 17 May.
Stan Reilly Frail Aged Lodge opened; Fremantle Arts Centre Press
Nunzio Gumina introduced al fresco dining at Papa Luigi’s coffee shop
in South Terrace, the start of development of the Cappuccino Strip.
Perth – Fremantle railway line closed 1 September; re-opened 29 July
Work commenced on Challenger Harbour in preparation for the
Fremantle hosted world championship sailing events: World 12 Metre
1986–87 Championships, America’s Cup Defence Series, and Tall Ships Race.
Fremantle Town Hall restored and refurbished.
Former Fremantle Boys School re-opened as Perth Institute of Film and
Television; later, Film and Television Institute (FTI).
Closure of Richmond Raceway at East Fremantle; re-developed as
1991 residential sites. Fremantle Prison de-commissioned; building re-
opened 1992 as cultural tourism site.
Endeavour (historic barque replica) built in Fremantle, launched on 16
1995 Fremantle Football Club (the Dockers) played first game.
Fremantle Hospital, Fremantle Port Authority and Victoria Pavilion
celebrated their centenaries.
Booyeembara Park established on former Montreal Open Space site;
designed and named to honour Aboriginal heritage.
The Whalers’ tunnel was renovated and reopened to the public.
Monument Hill listed on West Australian Heritage Register.
Australian Maritime Museum on Victoria Quay opens. Woodside
Maternity Hospital closes.
2003 Old Papa’s on South Terrace closes.
Watson’s Butchers on High Street closes after 75 years. Fremantle
Primary School Centenary.
Fremantle Prison placed on new National Heritage List. John Curtin
Statue in King’s Square unveiled.
2006 Roma Restaurant closes after 52 years. Duyfken leaves Fremantle.
Royal George in East Fremantle handed over to the National Trust. Fire
2007 gutted National Hotel, currently being restored. First ‘Cracker Night’
held on Australia Day at Fishing Boat Harbour.