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Adelaide Street

Adelaide St is named, as is also the capital city of South Australia, for William IV's queen, Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen. >

This is to some extent a street of schools and churches, with the principal Anglican church, St John's, at one end, and the Catholic St Patrick's Basilica at the other. The Johnston Memorial Congregational Church was in between but, sadly, was removed in favour of an abominable block of flats. North of the basilica, the Presbytery, which replaces the original Benedictine building in 1916, is the last building on the eastern side. It looks across to the Proclamation Tree and Marmion Memorial, on the corner of what used to be Edward St and is now Parry St. The Proclamation refers to the commencement of responsible government in WA in 1890, while the Memorial is a tribute to Edward Marmion, a popular MP, and was erected after his death in 1898. He was in the first ministry in the new government in 1890.


Adelaide St 1899. View taken from the Town Hall Tower: a postcard panorama of Fremantle from Robinsons. On the right side at the front is the roof of St John's Anglican Church; immediately behind is Elizabeth Terrace, demolished in 1973 and behind that is Johnston Memorial Church, built in 1877. Text and photo no. 1628: Fremantle Library.

In the centre of the photo may be seen the Boys School, 1855. Princess May School (1901) has not yet been built behind it. Behind the Johnston Congregational Church roof may be seen the top of St Joseph's Convent and/or the Girls School. Behind that again and to the right, I'm guessing that is the 1859 Catholic chapel. The building with the tower on the river would be the Australia Hotel, which was built about 1900, so either the photo is from 1900 (or later) or the hotel was built by 1899 (or earlier). I'm guessing the latter.

adelaide st

The 1915 image shows the eastern side of Adelaide St from the Point St corner, looking northeast towards St Patrick's. St Joseph's Convent and the Girls School are the buildings to this side of the basilica. The house on the right was Prospect House, 1886-1967.

The last building on the western side of the street is the 1901 Princess May School, though its formal address is in Cantonment St. The 1855 Boys School, however, which is also in Princess May Park, faces Adelaide St.

A new Hilton hotel is supposed to be constructed at the western edge of the Princess May Park where the Port Cineaste Cinema stood until 2014.

Opposite the Johnston church was the block called 'Westgate' in the 1960s, when the Westgate Mall was constructed through the middle of it. There is a currently a proposal to built a large building at 52 Adelaide St, where Spotlight/Coles was: it will be about the same height as the Johnston Court flats.

At its western end, Adelaide St terminates at High St (a pedestrian mall at that point) at the corner with William St, and therefore in front of the Town Hall.

North-eastern side

This photo from c. 1960 shows Ezywalkin in Manning Chambers in High Street on the left, and then in Adelaide Street the shops which now include Mills Records. Charlie Carters, on the right, was in that building 1929-1992. It is currently tenanted by Red Dot. What a falling-off was there!


4-16. The 'Woolworths Building' was built c1908 by J McNeece Architect with builder J. J. Ashman. Ceilings by Wunderlich (pressed metal). The building was Bradshaw's from 1914-1931, a drapers, clothiers and house furnishers. Woolworths from 1931, and various other shops have occupied building. Heritage Council.


18-22. Mills Records have been tenants at 22 Adelaide St since 1945. ... In 1888 the Fremantle rate books record Lot 331 as having two shops with rooms and a cottage. David Francisco owned all three and resided in the cottage. One of the shops was occupied by F W Ross, a commercial traveler and the other by Richard W. Woods, a shopkeeper. ... Heritage Council.


26-28. The place is a modest example of a commercial building dating from the first decades of the twentieth century that forms part of a group of similar places and makes a contribution to the Fremantle Town Centre streetscape.


30-32. The building is currently tenanted by Kathmandu. Woodsons Arcade runs along the western side through to Cantonment St, where the Woodsons Building is situated.


34. The building housed Charlie Carter's grocery 1929-1992. It is currently tenanted by Red Dot. What a falling-off was there!

38 Adelaide Street is a modern building on the corner of Queen Street. It has the Commonwealth Bank logo at the top. Queen Street is now the street of banks.

Across Queen Street is the Target store, in another modern building.

Then comes the Westgate Mall, where the new Little Lane development is being built in 2020 on the former Spotlight site.

More modern buildings follow. The first currently houses Chemist Warehouse. Other unremarkable buildings bring us to the corner of Point Street.

The lot on the other side is vacant, awaiting the very delayed building of a Hilton hotel.

Circus WA is in a tent in Princess May Park at 90 Adelaide Street.

The Boys School is next (with Clancy's behind it, on Cantonment Street), and the rest of Princess May Park forms the (north-eastern) end of Adelaide Street.

References and Links

Byrne, Geraldine 2000, A Basilica in the Making: the Centenary of St Patrick's Fremantle, Mazenod.

A correspondent has written asking about a plumber's premises in this street in the 1950s. If anyone has any information, I'll pass it on to her.

Garry Gillard | New: 8 October, 2015 | Now: 20 May, 2020