Learn about Western Australia's pioneering history in Fremantle.

Experience extraordinary stories of convict prisoners, maritime heroes, murderous mutineers and pioneering settlers. Known as the world's best preserved example of a 19th century port streetscape and boasting Western Australia's largest collection of heritage listed buildings, Fremantle possesses a depth of character that cannot be replicated elsewhere.

The Round House Precinct 

In a country predominately settled by convicts, it is not surprising that the first permanent building to be built in Western Australia was a prison. The Round House Prison, so named because if it's unusual 12 sided shape, was built in 1831 and is an essential part of any itinerary for visitors to Fremantle. The Round House Precinct originally housed a courthouse and gallows all within a fifty metre radius from the prison, and today, a "Whalers" tunnel leading from Bathers Beach below the precinct through the hillside to the town, can still be traversed.

The Fremantle Prison

The Fremantle Prison is one of Western Australia's premier heritage attractions. The Prison was built by convicts in the 1850's and was used continually as a place of incarceration and punishment for almost 140 years. Visitors today can explore the Prison's fascinating history on an entertaining Prison Day Tour, Tunnel Tour Adventure or Spooky Torchlight Tour.

Maritime history 

As a working port city, Fremantle also claims an intriguing maritime history. The Western Australian Maritime Museum is especially popular with its stunning maritime design, set on Victoria Quay at the entrance to Fremantle Harbour. Here you'll find Western Australia's maritime history well documented through a series of world class displays and presentations. The Maritime Museum is also home to the internationally renowned Australia II yacht which contentiously won the America's Cup from the Americans in 1983.

The Western Australian Shipwreck Galleries on Cliff Street is another absorbing attraction. It houses the original timbers from the infamous 17th century Dutch Batavia shipwreck which sank in 1629 further north at the Abrolhos Islands. There are also exhibits of gold and silver coins, furniture, crockery and cutlery as well as stories of bravery, survival and of course mutiny from the shipwreck. Another intriguing museum in the vicinity is the Army Museum of Western Australia which showcases the entire colonial and post-federation periods through to the end of World War II.

A Tale of tall ships 

Fremantle officially began in April 1829 when the tall ship HMS Challenger arrived in the waters off the Western Australian coast near the mouth of the Swan River and formally took possession of the land. Close thereafter Captain James Stirling arrived from England to establish Fremantle as a free settlement when approximately 400 settlers arrived in the tall ships HMS Sulphur and Parmelia in June 1829.

Fremantle has since won worldwide acclaim for its expertise and craftsmanship in boat building as well as replicating historic sailing ships. In Fremantle, you can view a fine examples of an historic sailing ship. Get a taste of what it is like to be on board an 1850's style barquentine tall ship with Leeuwin Ocean Adventure. Three hour sails depart from Fremantle and visitors can take part in ship activities such as hauling lines, climbing the bow sprit, taking the helm and going on a ship tour.

Fremantle Arts Centre

How about visiting the character building housing the Fremantle Arts Centre? Housed in a convict build neo-Gothic style building from 1860, and set in beautiful gardens, the centre is also a fascinating heritage site. It now houses gallery spaces, a cafe and a gift shop. While appreciating the exhibitions, you can learn about the centre's fascinating history as a lunatic asylum and shelter for homeless women.

Explore Fremantle's history

You can experience much of timeless Fremantle on board an historic Fremantle Tram Tour which fills you in on the secrets of old-time Fremantle or jump on board a guided Fremantle Urban Walking Adventure with Two Feet and a Heartbeat - a non-traditional route through this amazing city, exploring its many heritage buildings and streets.

Walking Around Fremantle

Fremantle Walking Trails

Explore Fremantle's fascinating history and heritage and follow one of the self guided walking trails.

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Plan your trip to Fremantle

Find the top accommodation, attractions, tours and things to do in Fremantle to help plan your trip.

Be. Fremantle, apartment hotel in Fremantle

Fremantle accommodation

Fremantle is a great place to base yourself for your next holiday in Perth with a range of accommodation available including apartments, hotel, resorts and caravan parks.

Fremantle Tours - Bike, Walk, Eat & Drink

Fremantle tours

Let someone else take you to Fremantle's famous and hidden spots on a guided tour.

Gatehouse at Fremantle Prison, Fremantle

Fremantle attractions

Fremantle is the place to learn about Western Australia's pioneering and maritime history and there are a number of attractions, museums and art centres that give you the opportunity to just this.

Sweetlips Fish and Chips by Jeffrey's Photography

Fremantle food and drink

Fremantle's streets are abuzz with small bars, restaurants and cafes and seafood markets that full to the brim with patrons from across the globe.

Fremantle Markets, Fremantle

Fremantle shopping

Shoppers love Fremantle for its unique art galleries, boutiques, Aboriginal art, souvenir stores and weekend markets.

Ocean Cycles

Fremantle Hire

Check the hire options available in Fremantle to help you get around.

Fremantle Markets

Fremantle Shopping

Fremantle has seven days a week shopping where you'll find innovative fashion, original artworks and quirky gifts.

Explore Fremantle further

Looking for more of what to do in Fremantle? Here are a few more of Fremantle’s best attractions.

Historic Buildings, Fremantle

Historic Fremantle

Fremantle is the ideal place to learn about Western Australia's pioneering and maritime history. Experience extraordinary stories of convict prisoners, maritime heroes and pioneering settlers. 

Cafe in Fremantle

Eat Drink Fremantle

Fremantle is the home of alfresco dining in Western Australia and is well known for its laid back atmosphere at the many restaurants, cafés, markets, roving street trucks and hotels. 

Fremantle Markets, Fremantle

Fremantle markets

Shoppers love Fremantle and there are plenty of vibrant weekend markets to choose from, selling the freshest of fruit and veg, as well as an eclectic mix of buskers, stalls and goods.

Moore & Moore, Fremantle

Fremantle coffee spots

Relax over a cup of coffee before exploring fascinating Fremantle. Favourite spots include the famous 'Cuppuccino Strip' and trendy Wray Avenue, South Terrace and High Street.

Historic buildings, Fremantle

Fremantle heritage trails

Explore Fremantle's fascinating history and heritage. Follow one of the self-guided walking trails and go on your own adventure.

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