Fremantle, Western Australia

From Academic Kids

Fremantle is a city located within the Perth metropolitan area on Australia's western coast, at the mouth of the Swan River, 19 kilometres south from Perth's Central Business District. It was established by British settlers as part of the Swan River Colony in 1829. It was declared a city in 1929, and has a population of approximately 25,000.

In 1891, Irish-born engineer C. Y. O'Connor deepened the harbour and removed the limestone bar and sand shoals across the entrance to the Swan River, thus rendering Fremantle a serviceable port for commercial shipping. Fremantle still serves as the main port for Western Australia. During World War II it was the main base in the area for Allied submarines.

Fremantle is considered to be one of Perth's cultural centres, with convict-built colonial era buildings, the old jetty and port, the maritime museum, and many other buildings of general historical interest.

The Round House
The Round House
One of these is the Round House, the oldest remaining building in Western Australia, built as a gaol in 1830 - 1831. The Round House had eight cells and a gaolers residence which all opened up into a central courtyard. In the 1800s, bay whaling was carried out from Bathers Beach below the Round House. As part of the whaling operations a tunnel was constructed under the Round House to provide whalers with access to the town from the jetty and Bathers Beach. When the first 75 convicts arrived from Britain in 1850 to support the colony's dwindling population, it became apparent that the Round House was inadequately small to house them. The convicts built a new gaol which was completed in the 1850s and continued to be used as Fremantle prison through until 1991.
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The prison at night
Fremantle Prison was once one of the most notorious prisons in the British Empire. It housed British convicts, local prisoners, military prisoners, enemy aliens and prisoners of war. It is now one of the state's premier heritage sites.

The Round House is located in what is now known as Fremantle's West End: a collection of streets containing colonial buildings at the tip of the southern end of the port, which is vaguely reminiscent of Stockholm. A process of gentrification in the early 1990s was accelerated by the establishment of the University of Notre Dame Australia, which has restored and occupies many of the buildings in the West End.

The majestic Fremantle History Museum is another building constructed in the 1860s by convicts from indigenous limestone: it is a former asylum building on Ord Street and is one of Fremantle's most significant landmarks.

The Fremantle Markets are a notable tourist attraction, located in the centre of Fremantle on its "Cappuccino Strip" (so named because of the abundance of restaurants and cafes). The Premier of Western Australia, Sir John Forrest, laid the foundation stone for the markets on Saturday 6 November, 1897. Over 150 stalls are housed in its old Victorian-era building, which was listed by the National Trust and Heritage Council in 1980.

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Location of Fremantle, Western Australia

Fremantle was the host city for the America's Cup yachting race in 1987. The unsuccessful cup defence was conducted on the waters in Gage Roads, off Fremantle.

Fremantle is notable for its large ethnic communities of Italian, Portuguese and Greek immigrants, which have all contributed to the distinctive heritage and culture of the city. Fremantle also has a role in Nyoongar Aboriginal mythology.

Fremantle and Perth have often had a light, humorous antagonism, which extends to the rivalry between local AFL team known as the Fremantle Football Club (colloquially known as The Dockers) and the Perth team, the West Coast Eagles.

The name of the city is universally pronounced as "FREE-mantle", not "Fre-MAN-tel" as one might assume. The Western Australian vernacular diminutive for Fremantle is "Freo" (FREE-oh). The cooling breeze blowing from Fremantle to Perth during the hot summer is colloquially known as the "Fremantle Doctor".

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