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North Fremantle School

north freo primary

Photograph January 1986 courtesy of SLWA # 316522PD (from Facebook) - when it was 'Stirling Hostel'

The former North Fremantle School was built in 1894 on the site of the 1853 convict depot (on that part east of the 1881 railway line) on the Perth Road (now 101 Stirling Highway) opposite the junction with Alfred Road.


It operated as a school until 1967, and was later Stirling House, a Bail Hostel, and the Kui Mens Hostel. At 101 Stirling Hwy, it is now a 'School of Early Learning', for children 6 months - 4.5 years.

There is a modern North Fremantle Primary School in John Street on the corner of Turton Street in what used to be the grounds of Hillcrest House.

Statement of Significance. HCWA Register of Heritage Places Permanent Entry North Fremantle Primary School (fmr) North Fremantle Primary School (fmr), a Federation Arts and Crafts style limestone building featuring brick quoins, distinctive roof forms, together with two Tuart trees within its curtilage, has cultural heritage significance for the following reasons:
the place has had an important role in the education of local children (until 1967), many of whom retain a strong sentimental attachment to the place;
the place is a fine example of the Federation Arts and Crafts style featuring asymmetrical elevational compositions, limestone with brick quoins and openings, traditional but distinctive roof massing, half-timbered gables, and elegant chimneys with distinct cornices;
the place is associated with a number of past students, staff and other persons who have risen to prominence in local and national history, most notably Mr J.T.Tonkin, later State Minister for Education and Premier of Western Australia, and Sir Donald Bradman, world famous Australian cricketer;
the place became the first Bail Hostel established in Australia;
and, the Tuart trees are valued by the local community for their aesthetic and educational associations. They are of a type that has become uncommon in the Metropolitan area.
Recent work to the place including internal partitions and ceilings, the wet area on the north-west corner of the building, and the pergola structure on the front of the building is deemed intrusive. The shed, fences, paths and bitumen parking area within the curtilage of place are of little heritage significance.
History. The portion of Stirling Highway to the north of Queen Victoria Street was originally part of Perth Road. The area developed with mixed residential, commercial and industrial uses from the 1860s following the construction of the North Fremantle Traffic Bridge and the upgrading of Perth Road by convicts. The portion of Stirling Highway that runs between the Swan River and the junction with Queen Victoria Street was formerly called Bruce Street. It was named after Colonel Bruce, head of the Pensioner Guards. In the early days of North Fremantle’s development, the favoured residential area for settlement was slightly west of the North Fremantle oval and named ‘Brucetown’. Settlement of North Fremantle began in earnest in the late 1890s and Bruce Street was characterised by a mix of building types. On the southern side of the street between Queen Victoria Street (formerly Perth Road) and Tydeman Road (formerly Pensioner Road and then John Street), the buildings were predominantly residential. Industrial use was more common on the northern side. Heritage Council

References and Links

See also my page about Convict Hiring Depots.

Dowson, John 2003, Old Fremantle, UWAP: 131.

Website of the School of Early Learning

Website of the modern North Fremantle Primary School

Heritage Council

Garry Gillard | New: 16 December, 2014 | Now: 19 December, 2020