Fremantle Stuff > Post Offices

Post Offices

Post offices were not officially established until 1846. Prior to this postal business had been conducted by merchants. [Ewers 1971: 21; Ewers doesn't say where any post office was established in 1846.]

The first 'place' to function as a post office was the wreck of the ship Marquis of Anglesea, with the business conducted by Lionel Samson on a voluntary basis until John Bateman was appointed postmaster. Dowson (2003: 109) has Samson's dates as 1829-1835, but Ewers (1971: 21) has May 1830-March 1833, when Bateman took over. Hitchcock writes that Bateman was appointed 1835: see below.

currie detail

The Marquis of Anglesea - the first 'post office' in Jane Currie's watercolour. Photo of the interpretive plaque on Bathers Beach.

lot59

John Bateman, appointed postmaster 1835, bought town lot 59, now No. 7 Henry St (and half of the former Workers Club), at the end of 1829 or beginning of 1830. The photograph shows Thomas Mews Jr outside what was Bateman's cottage at the back of Lot 59. RWAHS R5754. The Mews family, boatbuilders, bought both Lots 59 and 60 in 1870.

On January 31, 1835, John Bateman was appointed as the first postmaster at Fremantle. The first post office was in a little vine-clad cottage that stood well back from the street on lot 59 in Henry Street. Some idea of the smallness of the business transacted may be gleaned from the fact that the address and date of receipt and delivery of every letter posted was recorded in a book. Imagine that being done nowadays! (Hitchcock 1929: 24-25)

po henry st

The photo of the Henry St post office used by Hitchcock in 1929

Early Fremantle postmasters

[Lionel Samson 1829-1833 or 1835]
John Bateman 1833 or 1835 - 54
M. Bateman 1854-55
Walter Bateman 1855-61
A. Francisco 1861-?

The central part of the building on the corner of Cliff St and Marine Terrace was built in 1852 as offices for the Convict Establishment, the Commisariat of which was next door, to the west (and is now known as the Shipwrecks Museum). The office building was used as a post office 1879-1890, and the slot for posting mail can still be seen on the left of the facade. (Hutchison 2006: 92)

cliff st post office

Cliff St Post Office

On the right is the Cliff Street Post Office (opened 10.08.1889). Note the horse hitching rails and the notice boards for shipping news. On the corner of Croke Street is the Pier Hotel, with an advertisement for The Port Brewery Ship Brand Pale Ale. The hotel was opened in 1873 and demolished in 1955. (Fremantle History Centre photo no. 604, c1903)

The Cliff St Post Office was opened in 1889 and was used until 1907 when the current Post Office in Market St came into service. It was demolished in 1967, and has been (disgracefully) a carpark ever since.

post office

The Fremantle Post Office located in Market Street, Fremantle was designed by Hillson Beasley of the Public Works Department, planned in 1906 and opened in 1907. It was renovated during the Western Australian Centenary year of 1929, and again in 1987 for the America's Cup challenge. It continues to be used as the post office. Wikipedia.

plympton po

East Fremantle Town Hall and Plympton Post Office

A four horse dray stands in Canning Highway in front of the Plympton Post Office (name changed to East Fremantle in 1899); which opened on 14.03.1898. The first Post Master, J. Adams, was appointed in March 1898.
Next to the left is the Police Station, Quarters and Lockup. The Fire Station was a shed next to the Police Station. In the centre is the East Fremantle Town Hall. The architect for this building was Joseph F. Allen and the foundation stone was laid by Sir John Forrest in 1899.

Photograph 707 from the Fremantle City Library Local History Photographic Collection. Date c. 1906. Text from the Library entry.

north freo PO

North Fremantle Post Office

The North Fremantle Post Office, 211 Queen Victoria Street, near the corner with Tydeman Road. The post office is on the left. To the right are two terraced houses. The complex was built in 1898 as a police station, lockup and police quarters. The police station closed as such in 1969 and the building was then used as a post office. Thanks to Mingor.net for the photo and data.

Former Beaconsfield/South Fremantle Post Office 1904-1985, built 1896, 174 Hampton Rd. Photo thanks to Gordon, mingor.net.

sfpo

South Fremantle Post Office, posted in Facebook 25 Jan 2016 by CoF, but it's FHC c1940 photo #4213, with this caption:

The Beaconsfield Post Office at 174 Hampton Road was built in 1896. It was renamed the South Fremantle Post and Telegraph Office on 1.04.1904 and continued to operate as a post office until June 1984. It was classified by the National Trust on 6.05.1985. In 1985 the building was used as an alternative school and in 1988 was converted into a medical clinic. Later it became residential. Note the telephone box in the front porch.

po1896

The Beaconsfield Post Office was built in 1896 by C Coghill at a cost of £1388/9/-. The architect was George Temple Poole. The name changed on 1.04.1904. Post Office service ceased mid June 1984. FHC 1896 photo #1410.

bpo

In the 2016 Google Maps snap the former PO has the business name Dorian (Engineering Consultants) on its front wall.

References and Links

Dowson, John 2003, Old Fremantle, UWAP.

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.

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


Garry Gillard | New: 22 January, 2015 | Now: 18 October, 2016