Fremantle Stuff > Buildings > Marich Building
38-42 High St, 20-28 Henry St, 1897
Photograph courtesy of Gnangarra from Wikipedia
For more information about the Henry St part of the building, see the Henry St page. The Rialto Apartments are at 44-46 High St. The Marich Buildings are on original town lots 80 and 81. The first owner of this land was William Rolfe Steele, (Hitchcock: 110) who Ewers (11) records ran in 1830 a pub called the South Sea Hall Public House, and it was here. There was later another pub here in 1844: the Royal Hotel.
The Marich Buildings is a single two storey building located at the corner of Henry and High Streets in Fremantle, Western Australia, and dates from c1897; there were several single story shops on the site including one occupied by butchers Henry Albert & Co.
The earliest building recorded on this site is the Royal Hotel in 1844. Prior to 1884 there was a single storey stone shop/residence on High Street frontage; there was also a stone building of similar vintage constructed fronting onto Henry Street. The site was redeveloped with shops and rooms at the ground floor level and offices on the first floor. The two storey building is constructed of stone and the upper floor has arched stucco architraves around the windows, stuccoed pilasters and a balustrade parapet. The building were also known as the Rialto Chambers for a number of years.
The Brockman family owned the property from 1880 until 1948/49 when it was brought by Nicholas Marich, after whom the building is named. Nicholas (Nikola) Marich migrated to Western Australia from Yugoslavia in 1909, working in Kalgoorlie on his uncle's fresh water condensor and at nights washing dishes in hotels and restaurants. Marich put himself through night school learning to speak English proficiently. In 1917 he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force, serving in the 11th Infantry Battalion during World War I. Upon his return from the war Marich settled in Spearwood, establishing a vineyard and supplying wine to fellow settlers in the area. Marich also worked as a court translator and was the first Yugoslav consul for Western Australia, a position he held from 1930 until 1944. The building remained in the Marich family until 1991.
In 1994 alterations to the building were carried out by Ralph Hoare Architect.
In 1999 the owners, Dunross Enterprises Pty Ltd, were awarded a $15,000 grant to fund a conservation plan of the building. In 2006 the City of Fremantle refused an application by Dunross Enterprises to develop a 5-storey hotel/apartment complex behind the Marich Buildings. A subsequent appeal to the State Administrative Tribunal was dismissed with the Tribunal concluding that in 'an area of such high heritage value, a cautious approach was required', and that the 5th level and two-storey balconies were 'not acceptable'.
The building was classified by the National Trust of Australia (WA) on 1 May 1974 and was placed on the Register of the National Estate on 21 March 1978.
It is also listed on the City of Fremantle's municipal heritage list. The basis for the listing is that the building is a substantially intact example of a commercial building, dating from the gold boom period in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, which contributes to the very significant Old Port City of Fremantle.
Packer, Julie; Wadley, Carolyn (1992). Building inspection and report : Marich Buildings (corner of High and Henry Streets, Fremantle).
Ralph Hoare Architect (1995). Report on the physical and documentary evidence on the existing building on Fremantle Town Lot 600P Certificate of Title Volume 301 Folio 58 : the Marich Buildings 38-50 High Street, Fremantle.
Information from the City of Fremantle Interpretation Plaques and Panels Research Project was used as the basis of this article. This project was completed in May 2002 by historian Kristy Bizzaca, and is available by visiting the City of Fremantle's Local History Collection.
 'Marich Buildings'. Heritage listings. Heritage Council of Western Australia. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
 Henry Albert's house, Henry Street Fremantle, 1900, retrieved 17 September 2013
 'Classified Advertising.'. Perth Gazette (WA: National Library of Australia). 26 July 1867. p. 2. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
All those "Fremantle lots Nos. 80 and 81" situate in High Street and Henry Street, with the commodious House known as the "Royal Hotel," and the Butcher's Shop, Stables, and other buildings thereon, now in the occupation of Mr. Wellard. These premises are well adapted for business.
 'Marich Buildings'. Traces of the Past. University of Western Australia. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
 'Classified Advertising.'. Perth Gazette (Perth: National Library of Australia). 31 October 1896. p. 3. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
 'Fremantle Week.'. The Daily News (Perth: National Library of Australia). 14 October 1905. p. 4 Edition: Third Edition. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
 'Nick Marich House'. Heritage listings. Heritage Council of Western Australia. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
 Berson, Michael (1978). Cockburn – The making of a community. Town of Cockburn. pp. 162–163. ISBN 0959653309.
 'Personal.'. Perth Gazette (Perth: National Library of Australia). 22 November 1930. p. 14. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
Mr. N. Marich has been appointed Consul for Yugoslavia at Fremantle, and has opened offices in Fothergill's Buildings, Henry-street. His jurisdiction is for the whole of the State. He is the first official representative of the kingdom in this State.
 'Two Fremantle conservation projects to share Heritage Grants Program funding'. Minister for Heritage – Media Statements. Government of Western Australia. 19 October 1999. Retrieved 17 September 2013. [link broken]
 'Marich Buildings, 20-28 Henry St, Fremantle, WA, Australia'. Australian Heritage Database. Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities. Retrieved 3 December 2012.
 'City of Fremantle Heritage List' (pdf). City of Fremantle. Retrieved 12 August 2013. Wikipedia.
Statement of Significance
The place is of historic significance as an example of a commercial building in the Old Port City of Fremantle dating from the gold boom period in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The place is significant because, when viewed from the street, it is a substantially intact example of a commercial building which contributes to the very significant Old Port City of Fremantle. The place is of social significance as evidenced by its classification by the National Trust.
High Street was named by Surveyor General Roe - as was customary in English towns, the main street of the town was named High Street. Eastward from William Street the roadway was completed by convict labour after the Town Hall was built in 1887. High Street around the Town Hall closed to traffic in 1966. The High Street Mall was trialled in November 1973 and made a permanent pedestrian mall in 1975.
The earliest building recorded on this site is the Royal Hotel in 1844 (Chauncey-Snell survey). No evidence remains that any of this original building was retained in later development of this site. Site investigations and documentary evidence reveal a single storey stone shop/ residence on High street prior to 1884. A stone building of similar vintage was constructed fronting onto Henry Street.
A PWD plan of 1897 show a group of buildings on lots 80 and 81 in an arrangement similar to what exists today. The building was owned from 1880 to c1948 by the Brockman family.
Nicholas Marich was the owner from 1948 to 1991. In late 1970s, No. 22 was a lodging house.
In 1994, alterations were carried out by Ralph Hoare Architect.
Currently (2002), commercial use, under renovation.
Two storey truncated corner and rendered building. (Henry St: single storey rendered façade.) The façade features a simple parapet and remnants of lettering appearing in the pediment. There is a central entrance with French doors and timber double hung sash windows.
The decorative parapet has engaged small arched piers and 'Marich Bldgs' is imprinted in stucco across the corner. The engaged pilasters on the ground floor aside timber windows, the first floor has decorative engaged pilasters with stucco arched hopper windows between. There is pressed metal lining under the ceiling of the veranda awning (probably not original).
Roel Loopers writes this in his blog 19 March 2016.
Just in time for Easter old development plans for the Rialto building on the corner of High and Henry street have been resurrected by owner and former Fremantle Councillor Steve Gorman.
The plans I viewed are not very detailed but my first impression is that the three storey building would fit very well in the West End heritage area.
The building will be mixed commercial, residential and hospitality use with a restaurant and pizza oven, a function centre and dance floor at ground level and apartments on the two upper levels.
The building will also get verandahs in Henry Street and High Street. The images of the plans are copyright and can’t be published yet, but that will no doubt change once the public consultation process starts, so stay tuned.
Ewers, John K. 1971, The Western Gateway: A History of Fremantle, Fremantle City Council, with UWAP, rev. ed. [1st ed. 1948].
Hitchcock, JK 1929, The History of Fremantle, The Front Gate of Australia 1829-1929, Fremantle City Council.
Garry Gillard | New: 28 August, 2015 | Now: 18 January, 2017