Fremantle Stuff > Buildings > Davies Building

Davies Building

87-91 (85-89?) High St, 1905

princess chambers

The photo shows on the right what the whole building looked like from 1905, and the left what replaced the eastern half in about 1970, when it was built for the TAB. Capture from Google Maps Streetview, 24 July 2016.

David Hutchison gives this convenient summary:

Davies Building. Nos 85-89. Erected in 1905 for G.A. Davies, a town councillor and mayor (in 1895), this property was divided in two, as part of his estate, in 1950. The eastern half, bought by the Totalisator Agency Board, was demolished in the early 1970s and replaced by the present TAB Building, which was set back to allow for the proposed widening of High Street. The western half of the original buiding remains in use for commerce and residential purposes.

All of High Street was intended at that time to have this setback, but this is the only building (or part thereof) that was demolished to bring it about, so it's a convenient demonstration of how much would have been lost to the West End streetscape if it had gone ahead.

Ron & Dianne Davidson write:

... the built environment was on the verge of destruction. In the late 1960s and 1970s most of Fremantle's councillors were determined to bulldoze the city beyond recognition in the name of progress. The city's bustling commercial axis, High Street, was to become a four-lane thoroughfare. The extravagant gold rush facades along both sides of the street would just have to go. Number 89-91 had gone already. Henry Street would link into a coastal [pp. 15-16] highway. Almost all the buildings along its east side had been purchased by Main Roads, the Metropolitan Regional Planning Authority and the Fremantle City Council and would be obliterated even though they represented, arguably, the West End's finest stretch of buildings. On the other side of Henry Street the Orient Hotel was marked for demolition to be replaced by a glass and aluminium showroom for second-hand boats. Fighting for Fremantle: 15-16.

I'm not sure at the moment about the street numbers. The Record Finder says that its address is 87 High St, and DFK Port Accounting (in the former TAB building) say that they're in 91 High St.

I'm also a bit worried about the 'Record Finder' building, as it looks as if the pediment which is in the right half of the existing building should be at the centre of a building that was one third wider. I don't suppose I'll ever find a heritage architect who could explain this. ... Update: I spoke to an architect this afternoon. He thinks it's quite possible that the missing half of the building could have had a pediment on its lefthand size the opposite of the one on the extant side.

In 2019 the TAB has moved out of no. 91 and various businesses tenant it. No. 87 High St did house The Record Finder, but that has moved west along High Street. Breaks, a coffee shop remains on the ground floor.

References and Links

Hutchison, David 2006, Fremantle Walks, Fremantle Arts Centre Press: 149.

Garry Gillard | New: 24 July, 2016 | Now: 19 March, 2019