Fremantle Stuff > Streets > John St

John St

North Fremantle

John St, North Fremantle, may have been so named after John Bruce, as it went through the middle of the parcel of land granted to him in 1851 (or 1857, but probably the earlier). The western part of the street has disappeared under the approaches to the Stirling Bridge. Where it was roughly is now the much larger Tydeman Road.

John Street was the main road surveyed through the parcel of land granted to Lt. Con. [Lt Col?] John Bruce in 1857 [Hitchcock has 1851]. The land remained undivided and undeveloped until after John Bruce's death, when his widow arranged for it to be auctioned as residential lots. A land sale was held in October 1890 to dispose of the estate of John Bruce. A large attendance resulted in all 88 lots being sold, for sums ranging from £21 to £102, at an average price of £33/16/0, well above the anticipated price. Towards the end of 1891, the new owners approached the Fremantle Council requesting that scrub be cleared so that they could access their blocks, and it is likely that this is when John Street, which had been marked on survey diagrams from at least 1833, was actually created. The area at this time was known as 'Brucetown'. Pensioner Road, which ran from Stirling Highway (then Bruce Street) to the ocean and beach along the route of current Tydeman Road between Stirling Highway and the railway, and continuing beyond this point at the same angle, was renamed John Street in the late 1890s, being the continuation of the current John Street. This name remained until towards the end of the twentieth century, when roads were realigned to accommodate the expansion of Fremantle Port, and the current alignment of Tydeman Road was constructed.
The present John Street, from Stirling Highway to the Swan River, developed as a predominantly residential area, with the exception of the Gresham Hotel (to 1934) and the North Fremantle Oval (later Gilbert Fraser Reserve). At the western end of the street a number of prominent homes were built, while the eastern end was characterised by workers cottages. Long residential blocks on the south side of the street, east of the oval, had a number of cottages built along their rear boundary, facing the water. These were reported to have flooded frequently. The street overall fell into disrepair in the decades following World War Two, with many of the larger residences used as boarding houses and the cottages rented out. Many German and Polish migrants took up residence in this period. From the 1980s, gentrification of the area began, with older places either being restored or demolished to construct higher density housing. In the 1990s, most of the older houses at the eastern end of the street were demolished to allow for new waterside developments, most notably Pier 21. Heritage Council.

References and Links

Heritage Council. And also Heritage Council. Note that the first of these sources has 1851 as the date of the land grant; the other has 1857. I suggest that one is a typo, probably the latter, as Hitchcock has 1851.

Note about the saving of the eastern part of the street in Fremantle, the newsletter of the Fremantle Society: Vol 3 No 2 1975.

Photo of an old John Street house, probably 37, in Fremantle, the newsletter of the Fremantle Society: Vol 5 No 1 1977.


Garry Gillard | New: 27 April, 2016 | Now: 20 June, 2016