Fremantle Stuff > Buildings > Harbour Trust

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Harbour Trust building

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Built in 1893, this wooden building on Arthur Head was the customs house (Tauman: 243), and later the office of the Supervising Engineer of Public Works - C.Y. O'Connor. After 1904 the whole thing was moved a few hundred metres, and became the location of the Fremantle Harbour Trust (which later became the Port Authority, etc.) in Cliff St (near where the Fremantle Ports building is now) and was used by the Trust until 1962 when the building was demolished. This (cropped) photo c. 1900 was taken by A. Pickering, Battye 3542/b/35. The Fremantle History Centre has a c. 1904 photo (#603) taken of the same scene from the same elevation, but in worse condition. The latter is (poorly) reproduced in Neville: 121.

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FHC photo #4072 (cropped) 1896. The wooden offices of the Harbour Works (seen from the South Mole) were used as offices and residence by the Public Works Department supervising engineer during the construction of Fremantle Harbour. In February 1904, the building (40 m x 24 m) was moved to Cliff Street and became the offices of the Fremantle Harbour Trust. It was demolished in 1962. Taken 26 November 1896.

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Moving the building. Battye 862B.

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The FHC photo put this photo in Facebook 28 August 2017. I have been unable to find it by searching the catalog. It shows what is now (after 1904) the Fremantle Harbour Trust building, 'in' Cliff St, where the present Fremantle Ports building (1963) now stands. The Dalgety building is visible in the background, cnr Phillimore and Cliff Sts.

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George Davidson's (1927?) photo shows the Harbour Trust building in the context of some unknown public event. It was almost certainly taken from the rear of Scottish House, a shipping office building in Phillimore St, where Davidson worked for fifty years. People are lining the sides of Cliff St, with the entrance to the port on the right, so some important people are leaving or have just arrived in Fremantle. I think it's likely it was the Duke and Duchess of York, in 1927.

[C.Y. O'Connor] found immediate working space in part of the old wooden customs building at Fremantle. After February 1896 the levelling of Arthur Head was complete. Later, in 1898, the building was moved wholesale on rollers to a site near the new south wharf, without so much as cracking a single window, the workmen proudly claimed There all the work of planning, drafting and directing connected with the construction of the inner harbour continued. [Tauman: 243-244. She continues, in an endnote:] In 1903 the building became the administrative offices of the Fremantle Harbour Trust, giving place, half a century later, to the new buildings of the Fremantle Port Authority.

References and Links

Dowson, John 2003, Old Fremantle: Photographs 1850-1950, UWAP.

Dowson, John 2011, Fremantle Port, Chart and Map Shop, Fremantle.

Evans, A.G. 2001, C. Y. O'Connor: His Life and Times, UWAP.

Neville, Simon J. 2007, Perth and Fremantle: Past and Present, privately published, WA.

Tauman, Merab 1978, The Chief: C. Y. O'Connor, 1843-1902, UWAP.


Garry Gillard | New: 29 August, 2016 | Now: 2 March, 2018