Fremantle Western Australia

Fremantle's World Class Museums

Fremantle Museum: Shipwreck Galleries

Stroll through Western Australia's History by visiting Fremantle's many museums. 

Fremantle is home to many excellent WA Museums. 

From Fremantle's first Maritime visit to the historic port buildings, Fremantle is alive with history...

Western Australian
Maritime Museum, Fremantle

WA Maritime Museum, Fremantle

The new WA Maritime Museum is a world-class museum telling the story of Western Australia's maritime history and perfectly located where Fremantle and the ocean meet.  Located at Forrest Landing, the site of the first landing in 1829, on the Western end of historical Victoria Quay, it is the focal point of the Fremantle Waterfront and is impressively visible from many different locations.

WA Maritime Museum, Fremantle

WA Maritime Museum, Fremantle

Parry Endeavour Ship, FremantleThe new Western Australian Maritime Museum on Victoria Quay in Fremantle is an ideal place to immerse yourslef in the profound experiences of WA's early ocean explorers and the nautical history which has helped to create this great state. This landmark building houses Alan Bond's America's Cup-winning yacht Australia II and six themed galleries:

  • The Indian Ocean
  • Tin Canoe to Australia II
  • Fremantle and the Swan River
  • Hooked on Fishing
  • Cargoes
  • Naval Defence

About the Maritime Museum
Millions of migrants have come to Western Australia by sailing ship, steamship, naval vessel and ocean liner either in transit to other Australian ports or as immigrants intending to make Western Australia their home. Immigrants from all over the world have made Australia a very culturally diverse society. The Port of Fremantle is integral to this history.

WA Maritime Museum Sails

WA Maritime Museum, Fremantle

Contacting the Maritime Museum
Address: Victoria Quay Fremantle, WA, 6160
Tel: (08) 9431 8334

Maritime Museum Fremantle AustraliaMaritime Museum Fremantle AustraliaMaritime Museum Fremantle Australia

OPEN: Daily from 9.30-5.00
Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday & Anzac Day.
ENTRANCE FEES: Adults $15.00, Children 5-15 FREE, Concession $7.50, Family Entry (up to 2 adults and 3 children) $30.00 - Annual Passes are available.

Maritime Museum Fremantle AustraliaMaritime Museum Fremantle AustraliaMaritime Museum Fremantle Australia

Website: Western Australian Maritime Museum
Map: WA Maritime Museum Map

(The Maritime Museum is commonly misspelled as Maritine Museum, Meritime Museum, Marintime Museum, Maratime Museum Marintime or Martime Museum - Note the correct spelling is: M A R I T I M E - M U S E U M)

HMAS Ovens, an Oberon Class ex-Royal Australian Navy Submarine Exhibit

HMAS OVENS is an located alongside the Maritime Museum and is open for tours. HMAS Ovens is an Oberon class submarine formerly of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). She was the first submarine to be preserved in Australia as a museum ship.

HMAS 'Ovens' Submarine at Fremantle - WA Maritime Museum

This impressive vessel gives you an idea what of what it would have been like on board during the Cold War. It's not as glamourous as you may think, being a submariner... they put their lives at risk every moment they're below the surface of the ocean. Incredible.

HMAS 'Ovens' Submarine at Fremantle - WA Maritime Museum

This Oberon Class boat was built by the Scott Shipbuilding and Engineering Company in Greenock, Scotland. HMAS Ovens is 89.9 metres with a submerged speed more than 15 knots. Her mottto was 'Silence is Golden' and she was launched at Greenock on 4 December 1967, commissioned on 18 April 1969 when she began her maiden voyage to Australia arriving in Sydney on 17 October 1969.

HMAS 'Ovens' Submarine at Fremantle - WA Maritime Museum

HMAS Ovens was decommissioned in Western Australia on 1 December 1995. During her 26 year life she travelled over of 410,000 nautical miles.

Contact Information:
Address: Victoria Quay, Fremantle, WA
: 1300 134 081
Website: HMAS Ovens

OPEN: Daily 1 hour tours every half hour, between 10.00am and 4.30pm
CLOSED: Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday & Anzac Day.
Entrance Fees: Adults $15.00, Children 5-15 $7.50, Concession $7.50, Family Entry (up to 2 adults and 3 children) $40.00. Annual Passes are available. Secure your tickets early as tour is popular.
Tour Information: This tour involves strenuous activity, such as climbing flights of scaffold stairs, stepping over bulkheads, manoeuvring through confined spaces, bending through narrow hatchways and climbing up and down steeply inclined ladders so you must be able to manage this to participate.  Highly Recommended Tour.

HMAS OvensHMAS OvensHMAS Ovens

HMAS OvensHMAS OvensHMAS Ovens

We loved our visit to the HMAS Ovens Submarine. Our tour guide was energetic, enthusiastic and knowledgeable.

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Round House at Sunrise. The Round House Fremantle

The Round House (once the old Fremantle Gaol / Jail)

Fremantle Round House (old Fremantle Gaol)The Round House is the oldest remaining public building in Western Australia opening in 1831. It was built as a gaol / jail and was used until 1886.

It had eight cells and a gaoler's residence, which all opened up into a central courtyard. It was later used as a home for the chief constable, his wife and their 10 children. It is now a popular tourist attraction enjoying panoramic views.

The Round House is located in what is now known as Fremantle's West End, in the Arthur Head Precinct on a headland overlooking the river mouth with uninterrupted views of Cockburn Sound. Other buildings on Arthur Head included the courthouse, cottages and two lighthouses.

Fremantle Round House (old Fremantle Gaol)The Fremantle Volunteer Heritage Guides (FVHG) raise the flags each day, participate in the firing of the 1 O'Clock cannon. This practice began in the early 1900s as a method of keeping everyone's watches aligned (and therefore keeping 'order' in the expanding colony.)

The issue of keeping clocks 'in time' was only solved by the English Clockmaker John Harrison created the marine chronometer which enabled ships at sea to 'carry' the correct time with them, after leaving sight (and sound) of the shore. (More about John Harrison).

ADDRESS: 10 Arthur Head, Fremantle, WA, 6160.
TELEPHONE: 9336 6636
OPEN: 10.30am - 3.30pm daily.
CLOSED: Christmas Day & Good Friday.
ENTRANCE FEES: By donation.
Website: Fremantle Round House

Fremantle Round House (old Fremantle Gaol)Fremantle Round House (old Fremantle Gaol)

From the Round House you can see the Indian Ocean. You get a perfect view of Bathers Beach below the cliffs to the left and cruise ships coming into harbour on the right! Wonderful.

Fremantle - Cruise liner docking in Fremantle, WAStairs to the Round House (old Fremantle Gaol)

Round House at Sunrise. The Round House Fremantle

Fremantle Prison

Fremantle Prison, The Old Prison FremantleThe Fremantle Prison has won the 2011 Western Australian Heritage Awards for:

~ Outstanding Contribution by a
Public/Private Organisation
~ Outstanding Heritage Tourism Product.

'Fremantle Prison is a former Australian prison located in The Terrace, Fremantle, in Western Australia, approximately 200m east of the Fremantle Markets. 

The 60,000 m² (15 acres) site includes the prison, gatehouse, perimeter walls, cottages, tunnels, and prisoner art. The formidable prison was built by convict labour in the 1850s, and transferred to the colonial government in 1886 for use as a Fremantle Gaol (Fremantle jail) for locally-sentenced prisoners. Though it is called the 'Fremantle Prison', it is no longer used for keeping prisoners. Wikipedia

The Terrace, Fremantle Prison, Fremantle

Fremantle Prison tours available: 'Great Escapes' - 'Tunnels' - 'Torchlight' - 'Doing Time'

OPEN: Daily. The Prison Gallery, featuring prisoner art is open to the public from 10.00am to 5.00pm daily.  Admission to the gallery is free. CLOSED: Good Friday and Christmas Day. Entrance Fees: FREE Entry to Gatehouse, Visitor Centre, Prison Gallery, Gift Shop and Convict Cafe. Tours are individually priced although an "All Tour Pass" is available.

Fremantle Prison Terrace

Address: The Terrace, Fremantle, WA 6160
Telephone: 9336 9200
Website: Fremantle Prison

Fremantle Prison History:

"Fremantle Prison was constructed soon after the arrival of the convict ship Scindian in 1850. The Swan River Colony was settled by free settlers in 1829. In 1849, the farmers petitioned the colonial authority to request skilled convicts be sent from the British government. The first ship with 75 prisoners aboard arrived even before confirmation of the request was received.

Fremantle Prison HousesFremantle Prison HousesFremantle Prison Houses

Edmund Henderson found on arrival that the town was unprepared and arranged temporary accommodation for the convicts at the harbour master's warehouse (now the Esplanade Hotel). Under direction from Henderson, James Manning and Henry Wray supervised the construction of the prison using convict labour from limestone quarried on-site. Construction began in 1851 and was completed in 1859. The first prisoners were moved there in 1855." [wikipedia: construction]

"Fremantle Prison is currently the best preserved convict-built prison in the country and became the first building in Western Australia to be listed on the Australian National Heritage List.

The Australian Federal Heritage Minister, Senator Ian Campbell, stated that it would be included in a nomination of eleven convict areas to become World Heritage Sites. Policy dictates the prison is used for the benefit of the community without damaging the fabric of the site. Since 1992, the prison has operated as a heritage museum, and by 2005 the prison was attracting more than 130,000 visitors every year." [wikipedia: fremantle prison]

Moondyne Joe
Moondyne Joe, WA Bushranger 1830 - 1900Western Australian Bushranger

This is the only known photograph of Joseph Bolitho Johns (1830-1900), better known as the Western Australian bushranger Moondyne Joe. It depicts Johns holding a tomahawk and wearing a kangaroo skin cape. [wikisource]

Although not distinguishable by outward appearance from the hundreds of other cells in Fremantle Gaol, there is one cell which has a particular interest because of the picturesque with which it is associated. 'Moondyne Joe' was, perhaps, Western Australia's most noted bushranger.

He was not an outlaw of the bloodthirsty type, such as the Kelly's, Steve Hart, and the score of others who killed and plundered on the eastern side of the continent during last century, and was notorious more for his prison breaking exploits than for his crimes.

It was because the authorities found it impossible to keep Moondyne behind prison walls that a cell in Fremantle Gaol was specially prepared for him, and it remains today as it was when he occupied it many years ago.

The walls of the confined space are heavily timbered and appear to have been laboriously carved and patterned, but is the triple-barred window which is of special interest. Moondyne laughed at ordinary locks and bars and prison walls, but when he first saw the cell prepared for him after many escapes, he must have realised that he would never be able to break through the bars which covered the small window space. [wikisource]

Famous Fremantle Prison Events
Catalpa, Escape ship for the Fenians in 1876, Fremantle Prison Escape

The Catalpa

Notable prisoners include members of the Fenian Brotherhood. Sixty-two Fenian's arrived at Fremantle in 1867. Many were pardoned over the years; however, in 1876 six managed to escape and fled aboard the Catalpa whaleboat to New York. [wikipedia: image] [wikipedia: fremantle prisoners]


Brenden James Abbott (born 8 May 1962) is an Australian bank robber who was branded the Postcard Bandit by the Western Australian Police to attract news media attention. The bank robberies he has been attributed as masterminding, yielded as much as A$6 million, though a significant proportion of that amount was unrecoverable. The Fremantle Prison escape that earned Abbott his lifelong notoriety as a criminal genius, and ultimately led to his branding as "The Postcard Bandit," occurred on 24 November 1989. Abbott and another inmate escaped by jumping from the roof, over the high limestone prison walls, in uniforms similar to Fremantle Prison guards' that Abbott had sewn in the prison tailorshop. [wikipedia:BrendenAbbot]

Western Australian Shipwreck Galleries

The Shipwreck Museum is the 'foremost maritime archaeology museum in the southern hemisphere' and was the original Maritime Museum. The displays feature early exploration and shipwrecks along the treacherous Western Australian coastline as early as the 17th Century, including recovered artifacts and original timbers forming part of the hull from the Dutch ship Batavia, wrecked in 1629 on her maiden voyage.

WA Shipreck Galleries, Fremantle

The wreck was discovered in 1963 and her timbers raised several years later.

The Museum includes: The Entrance Gallery, a Woodblock Floor Gallery (Hartog to de Vlamingh), the Batavia Gallery, Duch Wrecks Gallery and the North Gallery (Xantho).

WA Shipwreck Galleries museumWA Shipwreck Galleries museum

"Yes, we highly recommend a visit to this museum. Kids are engaged in the displays, there's lots to learn and lots to see. Excellent."

WA Shipwreck Galleries museumWA Shipwreck Galleries museum

Shipwreck Galleries, FremantleContact Information:

Address: Cliff Street, Fremantle, WA, 6160
Tel: 1300 134 081

OPEN: Daily from 9.30-5.00 CLOSED: Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday and Anzac Day.

Entrance Fees
: Entry is by donation.
Website: Shipwreck Galleries
MAP: Shipwreck Galleries Interactive Map

Army Museum of Western Australia

Army Museum of Western Australia, Fremantle, WAThe Army Museum of WA showcases Western Australia's military history including weapons and vehicles, uniforms and medals and war memorabilia from the pre-Federation period through to the present day. The museum currently has five established galleries and a static display of vehicles and other military hardware located in the parade ground. It is open Wednesday - Sunday 11:00am to 4:00pm and is located in the historic artillery barracks.

Address: Artillery Barracks, Burt Street, Fremantle WA 616030 2535 OPEN:Wednesdays through to Sundays 1:00am to 4:00pm. Entrance Fees: Adults $8.00 Children & Seniors $5.00 Family Entry (2 adults and 2 kids) $15.00 Website: The Army Museum of WA

Map: Army Museum of Western Australia Map

Army Museum of Western Australia, Fremantle, WAArmy Museum of Western Australia, Fremantle, WA


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